As Will's recent post has already stated, Will, Jason, Jess and I
ventured into the forest near the boundary of the GSMNP on Bradley
Fork to climb and measure the tall Tuliptree Jess found there a
couple of years before. It was a dreary rainy day but it made the
forest all the more beautiful. After crossing the river we made it
up into the ravine passing some nice trees along the way, including
a Sycamore that was over 150 feet tall. Most trees did not have
really large girths but were really tall. We located Jess's tree and
started unpacking our gear getting ready for the climb. It was
really different standing under the tree and aiming the laser into
the canopy and getting readings above 50 yards! I realized
then that the tree was really a giant. While Will was trying to set
the line into the tree, Jess was examining the flora on the forest
floor and found three types of fern there. Goldie's Fern, Wood Fern
and Christmas Fern. Christmas Fern I know
of and I think I have heard of wood fern, I think they are two
species, but I had never heard of Goldie's Fern. It was in my
opinion the prettiest of the three. Anytime you are in the woods
with Will or Jess, you are gonna learn something! As Will
started up the tree it really gave me an idea of it's size. Will
just kept getting smaller and smaller as he ascended the tree.
Bradley Fork Tuliptree Climbed by Will Blozan )
Another thing I noticed was the young-looking bark on the
tree. Jess and Will estimate it's age at around 100 years. The tree
is more than 13' cbh and has grown like crazy over the years. It
also lacks the overly heavy thick limbs of really old-growth
specimens. That 11' 5" cbh tulip that I measured recently near Lake
Julian is almost certainly older with older bark and heavier limbs,
though it is not nearly as tall.
While Will and Jason measured the tree, Jess went up one hillside
looking for more interesting flora while I went up the hillside on
the trees right looking for other tall trees. Will hollered down to
me that he could see a nice oak upslope. As I climbed upslope it
seemed to take me awhile to get as high as Will. This excited me
because the chance of it being a record looked promising. I found
several nice trees in which the measurements are below. I scouted
only a part of the mountainside and Jess mentioned finding a 160 ft
class tulip and 140ft class Black Locust there in the past.
While measuring I heard Will holler excitedly. I knew then that
the tree had broken at least one record. I was hoping it had broken
the Black Cottonwood's height record. Later I found out that it did!
The tree turned out to be 181.35 feet tall! A record. With
native hardwoods, Liriodendron Tulipifera now rules!!
The trip out was easier than the one in with Will and Jess
stopping to measure a birch leaving I to admire a silverbell before
walking up to see what Will and Jess were measuring.
On the way out via a foot bridge we passed a big Sycamore with a
circumference probably better than 15 feet. Jason took my picture at
the base of the huge tree.
On the way out I noticed the hemlocks along the trail looked
better than in the forest. They had been treated.
Not long after we reached the car the raining increased. We
stopped by a shop in Cherokee to get coffee before returning home.
I congratulate Jess Riddle on finding such a magnificent tree.
Now what name it, Jess? I am sure you will find a name fitting of
such a great tree. A fitting name would be the " Riddle Tuliptree
"!, at least in my opinion.
8' 9 1/4" 137.3'
158. 0' ! ( This might be the 160 ft class tree Jess found. )
11' 2"! 114.6'
Black Locust 6'
It was a great trip. Can't wait till Congaree!!