Leatherwood Branch, Big Creek, NC, GSMNP   Will Blozan
  May 16, 2004 10:21 PDT 

Hey folks,

I want to get some trip reports out as I know many of you are awaiting the
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 work
related, namely the Joyce Kilmer and Kelsey Tract old-growth hemlock climbs
and last week a trip to Mt. LeConte in the Smokies to collect Fraser fir

3/21/04 Leatherwood Branch, Big Creek, NC, GSMNP

Again, this cove had promising topography for big trees but was entirely cut
over save for a small section down low. Indeed, it had tuliptrees over 150'
but such trees are "common weeds" in Big Creek, and I do not bother to
record them at this time. Some fine older forest still existed in the lower
parts of the drainage, but nothing spectacular. In fact, one of the largest
trees I measured was a royal paulownia at 9'10"! The drainage was strewn
with settlement debris including a nice cast iron cook stove. Exotic plants
were common and aggressive, including Japanese honeysuckle, yucca,
Forsythia, and multiflora rose. I though I had found a new State Champion
green ash but as I approached I saw that it was a twin-stemmed tree over 12'
in girth.

~10' X 138.3'
11'4" X 138.5' Untapered beauty! Looked taller...

3/21/04 Lower Big Creek below Horse Camp, GSMNP

Just two trees worth mentioning:

Northern red oak
13'6" X 130.1' Extremely picturesque tree with high gnarl!
Virginia pine
5' X 99.8' Haven't seen many this tall. Well formed and still growing.

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...;)

Will Blozan
President, Eastern Native Tree Society
ISA Certified Arborist