Branch Trail, Big Creek, NC, GSMNP
16, 2004 10:21 PDT
I want to get some trip reports out as I know many of you are
news. I have not been out much lately and have been super busy
with work and
family. Fortunately, some of my best excursions lately have been
related, namely the Joyce Kilmer and Kelsey Tract old-growth
and last week a trip to Mt. LeConte in the Smokies to collect
2/8/04 Chestnut Branch Trail, Big Creek, NC, GSMNP
(Same crew as above)
This "topographically promising" cove had little to
offer beyond a small
section of older, disturbed forests near the lower part of the
the flats that we saw and I saw on another trip were cut and
full of exotic
plants and old home sites and debris. Nearby Leatherwood Branch
should be named "Washtub Basin" based on the dozen or
so tubs I encountered.
The relic forests did contain by far the most impressive white
oak forest I
have seen in the Smokies (topped only by Sweetbriar College's
Virginia). Numerous large trees over 120' were common and mixed
white pine, northern red oak, tuliptree and hemlock. The
understory was nice
and open and the oaks in such fine condition that each one was
shooting at least a vertical shot into for height. Virtually all
were above 120', and still growing well.
11'9" X 144.8' Largest I know of in Big Creek.
9'4" X 137.4'
13'9" X 127' Relic open-grown tree still growing up!
Northern red oak
10'1" X 131.9'
7'7" X 135.3'
13'1" X 81' Broken top
7'11" X 119.5' GRSM height record? Jess or Mike?
5'5" X 109'
That's all for now. The tree hunting season has basically closed
in with the
spring canopy. I may try to do some volume climbs before it gets
too hot and
buggy. I will be in northern Ohio the end of next week so I hope
to at least
confirm the giant cottonwoods I saw near Detroit, Michigan while
I am there.
I'm sure I will let you all know...eventually...;)
President, Eastern Native Tree Society
ISA Certified Arborist