05, 2007 15:48 PST
Yesterday, I took a long hike up a mountain peak I've wanted to
years. In the past, I was unsure about private property and
to get arrested trespassing, so I avoided trying to hike to the
Rumbling Bald Mountain. With the recent news that it will now be
of the new Hickory Nut Gorge State Park, I planned a hike there
couple of friends. One of my companions called ahead and was
as long as we didn't hunt, camp, build any fires, or try to
vehicle, we were welcome to use the old jeep trail that follows
ridgeline from near the shore of Lake Lure on Boys Camp Road.
It was a relatively long day-hike (about 8 miles round trip)
elevation gain (between climbing and reclimbing from gaps) of
3,600 feet. You start at about 1,000 feet and end up at just
feet on the top of Shumont Mountain.
I was happy to see so many very healthy and vigorous hemlocks.
ever hemlock we saw looked to be in the peak of health. Very
of vigorous growth. Full compliment of needles. There are not
large hemlocks, since this forest was cut down in relatively
history. But there were some grizzled old hemlocks to be seen
there along the ridgelines and down in a few coves near cliff
However, at one point I stopped to examine an exceptionally
looking hemlock, and was horrified to see that it was TOTALLY
with adelgids. The underside of each branch was just covered in
white fluff that marks those little whores. So I guess this area
now in the early stages of the infestation.
Let's hope the fungal treatment mentioned earlier can mean our
might have a decent future.
PS: I also saw a lot of nice Table Mountain Pines around Eagle
just below Shumont Mountain. First healthy stands of that tree
seen in a while.
Hickory Nut Gorge
05, 2007 16:04 PST
I had a good time scampering around on Rumbling Bald and Shumont
couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I didn't get the workout you
found an access from up top. I remember seeing lots of Carolina
Shumont Mountain - glad to hear they're still in good shape. I
it's cool to see a couple of Southern Appalachian endemics like
Mountain pine and Carolina hemlock growing together.
Hickory Nut Gorge
05, 2007 16:22 PST
The treatment site I mentioned in the Southern Appalachian
was on the southwest side of Rumbling Bald Mtn. It was seriously
and the eastern hemlocks were in decline. Carolina hemlock seems
vigor and color longer than eastern hemlock with respect to HWA,
suffers a massive dieback that doesn't occur in eastern hemlock.
The Nature Conservancy owns a Carolina hemlock bluff community
Bald Mtn, but has no plans that I know of to treat the trees.
"monitoring" is the answer I get. Monitoring HWA does
not save hemlocks!