Bennett Branch pine   MICHAEL DAVIE
  Feb 25, 2005 17:35 PST 
Hey there, everyone.

Bob, I apologize for the delay in responding to your request- yes, I feel pretty confident about the Bennett Branch pine going over 180 feet. I got two measurements, I just don't like the discrepancy so I'd like to measure it a few more times when I go back to tighten up the numbers. I got 181.4 on a good shot, and, well...184.2. The vantage was okay though tight on that last one, but I just don't trust that number, really. I didn't have time to remeasure it then or the next visit to Cataloochee. I'll just go there first thing next visit and spend a little time pinning it down. It is a lone pine on the south side of Bennett Branch, above (east of) the road. It's on a pretty steep slope, just sticking out way above everything else around it, relatively exposed, especially from the West. It would be easy to climb (logistically), but the top is so wispy it looks really near impossible to tape drop.

Besides some other unproductive brutal bushwhacking, that day I and a couple unfortunate friends slogged up the lower south side of Little Cataloochee Creek from the road to see the "Tornado" pine. I think when I saw it with Will before, we dropped down from the road and crossed the creek, then traveled upstream from there. Which is definitely the best way to go. The very bottom of the south side is absurdly steep and choked with some of the finest specimens of leucothoe in existence, impressive to behold but hellish to traverse, hiding huge drops and mucky holes, slippery logs and big rocks. It took almost 30 minutes to go .3 miles. The creek was too high to cross and go back down the other side. I guess I shouldn't whine, I got to go to Cataloochee. I got one shot on the tornado pine, 171.1 feet at 8 feet 1 inch in girth.