Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

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Ashe County
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Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by Ashe County » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:22 pm

Has anyone been to the Rendevous forest? The area near the fire tower is said to be old growth- some good size poplar and chestnut oak I saw there but not of the size of trees found in an old growth cove forest. The ranger also said a hurricane had blown down "most" of the bigger trees. There is a pleasant short walk called the talking trees trail which has a good sized stand.

Anyway I just joined this group and wanted to ask about big beech trees and their locations. There is a ridgeline hike there thru mostly some fairly recently logged areas. About half way across the route is the drainage of Purlear Creek, with a nice cascades about a mile down. And also two whoppers of beech that must have been bypassed during the logging days. One is a marked boundary tree so maybe that's why it was left. I'll try to get a circumference when I go back but they look to be about five feet in diameter. Is that big for a beech in North Carolina?

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bbeduhn
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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:48 am

A five foot diameter beech is a beast! I can't say I've ever measured one that size. I see mostly 2-3 footers in the mountains. Welcome to the forum. North Carolina is well represented at ENTS. I don't know if we have any measurers in the northern mountains/high country. I haven't been to the Rendezvous Forest yet. Any chance you know Annette Bednosky?
Brian

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eliahd24
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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by eliahd24 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:24 pm

She's a phenomenal trail runner!

Ashe County
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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by Ashe County » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:25 pm

The biggest one might only be five feet if I "cheat" a little and measure it from the downhill side at chest height. It grows at the edge of the old logging road where I held my hiking pole up to it to get an estimate. There is a 2-3 footer visible up on the hill across the creek from that location I didn't even mention. Lack of a good straight bole might be why they were not taken. The elevation here is less than 2000 feet and the fire tower is at 2500. Does Annette live near me? I've only been here just over a year. I am from Knoxville originally and spent the last 20 years in Arizona.

Missing my old growth hikes in the Smokies I started looking at the available data (Messick, Davis) to try and find some big woods closer to home. Wilson Creek area has some possibilities, none accessable by trail- it seems the trails around here generally follow old logging routes. Scrambling down steep drainages alone sounds risky so if anyone has any trips planned let me know. What a shame some of the trails, even those constructed by the CCC have been abandoned. The Forest Service will be holding public meetings on a trail plan this year, but none announced near me so far. It appears they are in need of more citizen volunteers. My first ventures in Wilson Creek have shown problems with missing signs and blazes, and even trails marked on their map I couldn't find. I didn't realize that trail maintenance was no longer a national priority. My impression is that the situation is better nearer Asheville due to Carolina Mt. Club and other volunteers. I'll skip the political commentary....

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:00 pm

You probably need to do some bushwhacking to see good old growth. Not sure how far you are from the Mackey Mountain area, but that's a good one for old trees. I bushwhacked in there last year with a friend to see the forests off trail and it was well worth the effort. We're thinking of going back to see some groves we missed, so I'll let you know when we plan such a hike. It'll be mostly off trail.

Ashe County
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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by Ashe County » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:54 pm

sounds like fun, depending on how fast you need to move to get where you're going! I'm a rather old fart these days but can handle a 2000 foot climb, on a steep TRAIL at least. Can you drop down off the trails off of Curtis Creek road into the area? I could be there in about 2.5 hrs. from my place. Even if I didn't get as far as you I could get the layout of the area. I assume a PM would show up in my email from this site? Jack

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bbeduhn
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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:26 pm

Annette lives in West Jefferson. She is one of the top trail runners in the country, probably #1 several years ago.

The Globe Forest should have some good old growth. It's near the Parkway by the Moses Cone park. There's been a battle over it for several years and a compromise was reached last year.

I've hiked a bit at Mackey Mountain but haven't been to the areas with very large trees. I'd be up for it as well. The trees along the trails are decidedly ordinary in size.

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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by Ashe County » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:17 pm

Yes I read that the Forest Service had excluded 40 acres of old growth from the timber sale off the Globe Road- seems to be a pattern here: propose a sale, see who is against it (in this case the Blowing Rock town council, and Wautauga County) and scale back the project after the Southern Environmental Law Center gets involved. Why not just have a policly of no old growth logging to begin with?

There is a considerably larger old growth patch in the upper elevations of Lost Cove Creek that interests me. Access is probably challenging as seems to be the case with most of what's left. There is a "trail" up Lost Cove thru the second growth (wading the creek a lot apparently) but scrambling down from the Lost Cove Cliffs Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway might put one in the heart of the area rather quickly. Getting back out, not so quickly...

I went back and measured the big beeches- only 122 inches in circumference on the larger one, but chest height on the upper side is about 10 feet above the base of the tree on the lower, where it flares considerably...

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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by Ashe County » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:07 pm


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Re: Big Beech-Rendevous State Forest, Wilkes County

Post by Ashe County » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:14 pm


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