Snowball Mtn. Trail

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bbeduhn
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Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:42 am

I did a little recon to check out this area for Bob Leverett's future forays into the Blue Ridge Parkway, particularly for yellow birch. They aren't nearly as full as character here as they are just north of the picnic area. This trail is on the south side of the Craggy picnic area, half way up the approach road, next to forest road 631 or 613. It branches off the Mountains to Sea Trail about 100 yards up. Yellow buckeyes, beech, yellow birch, mountain ash, sugar maple, red spruce and hawthorn abound. There is an almost pure stand of hawthorns, literally hundreds of them! Yellow birch dominates beyond the hawthorns.

Some yellow birch:
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I've never seen hawthorns congregated like these. They dominate several acres.
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I can see how hawthorns were once used to keep in livestock. These thorns are sharp!
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The mountain ash are already showing nice colors. They should be spectacular by next week.

I came across some yellow birch that had been cut. One 4" diameter branch showed about 70 rings. A 9" trunk showed about 130 rings. A 9" beech showed about 80 rings. The birches may be a bit older than we thought. There are birches about 3' in diameter. A 1' trunk could easily be in excess of 175 years.
Who knows on the 3 footers.

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James Parton
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by James Parton » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:25 am

Brian,

I gotta see that Hawthorn Grove. That's awesome! I hope I can find it.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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Rand
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by Rand » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:46 am

bbeduhn wrote: I've never seen hawthorns congregated like these. They dominate several acres.

I can see how hawthorns were once used to keep in livestock. These thorns are sharp!
I've seen this happen in old pastures in NW Ohio. The hawthorns are the only thing that's too nasty to get eaten.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:28 pm

James,
It's very easy to find. It starts just a few yards onto the trail. The thorniest ones are on a short alternate side trail near a small clearing with a giant boulder. It's fairly level in the hawthorn grove. Sizes range from a few inches in diameter to about a foot. The "Mother of all Hawthorns" is just a few miles up the Parkway, on the MTS trail by the Glassmine Falls Overlook. I tried to ID these bad boys but it was inconclusive. They could well be scarlet but I really don't know.

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edfrank
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by edfrank » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:07 pm

Brian,

How big was the "Mother of all Hawthorns"? I have a particular fondness for the genus.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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bbeduhn
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:13 pm

It's 6' cbh, about 20' in height and has just over a 20' spread. It's at 5200' feet elevation on the top of a ridge in the Craggy Mtns. I have no idea how old it is.

http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=106&t=2745

This topic covers it.

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edfrank
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by edfrank » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:21 pm

Oops, It did not register that this was the same hawthorn you were talking about.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:25 pm

Nice grove of hawthorns!

There are some patches of Mountain ash around Sam Knob and Little Sam Knob that are fun to see when the colors hit.

RyanLeClair
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by RyanLeClair » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:52 pm

You found James' dream garden!!

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James Parton
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

Post by James Parton » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:38 pm

Brian, Ryan is right! Hawthorns are my favorite trees, followed closely by Holly and Mountain Ash.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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