On Golden Pond

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dbhguru
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On Golden Pond

Post by dbhguru » Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:15 am

NTS,

On Friday Monica and I headed north to the New Hampshire lake country. Monica had a musical retreat with colleagues at a quaint NH camp on the shores of a lake that would end with a concert open to the people in the camp. Our location wasn't on just any lake. For those of you who saw On Golden Pond with Henry Fonda and Kathren Hepburn, well the camp we stayed at was on Golden Pond. Except, there is no Golden Pond. The actual location is Squam Lake, NHs second largest lake lying entirely within the Granite State's borders. The lake is 6 miles long and up to 4 miles wide. It is a real lake.

My role in the event was to lead a nature walk for the musicians, which I was looking forward to doing, but I didn't know what was immediately available in the way of tree attractions. I had been to Squam Lake during the 2004 old growth forest conference and remembered a shoreline peppered with the forms of mature white pines. I also remember the sounds of loons. I would have to do the best I could with whatever the location offered.

Although the affair was originally scheduled for 3 days, nobody planned to stay the whole time due to the approaching hurricane. As it turned out, we stayed only one night. We left yesterday around 4:00PM in order to get back and complete hurricane preparations. I'm glad we did. However, despite the abbreviated stay, I enjoyed my time on Golden Pond. The forest is of classic New Hampshire lake country composition. White and red pines, northern red oaks, white oaks, American beech, and sugar maples dominate in the overstory, the mix depending on whether you are near the lake shore or more inland. Hophornbeam and witch hazel are wide spread in the understory. White birch pop up here and there, and there is a fair amount of striped maple. Red maple, white ash, and American basswood are also present, but not abundant. It is a simple forest in terms of tree species, not very challenging to interpret, but very attractive to the eye.

Wow! A wind gust just rocked us. The trees are swaying around the house, and we're talking about 100 to 130-foot trees! Not a comfortable feeling. Nonetheless, I'll suck it up and return to the NH story.

The sold granite base to the New Hampshire landscape and the glacial scouring left little in the way of soils to support super growth. One doesn't visit the lake country of New Hampshire to savor big timber. It exists in a few places, but for the most part, large, tall trees don't grow on solid granite. Nonetheless, boundary oaks and maples along old rock walls can get thick near their bases and give the impression of larger tree. Just don't look up. The best the old whites can do is 100 to 110 feet. The red pines make it to 80, as do some of the northern red oaks and sugar maples, but what the forest lacks in stature, it makes up in pleasing proportions. The old pines thrust their crowns through a hardwood canopy, creating the sensation of a much taller forest.

The area has a nature preserve with hiking trails and a gorgeous overlook where one can see that complexity of the Squam Lakes (there is more than one). But enough of this chatter, let's take a look at the terrain. First, I'll present four images of the lake taken from in front of the lodge.
SquamLake-1.jpg
SquamLake-2.jpg
SquamLake-3.jpg
SquamLake-5.jpg
And now two images from Rattlesnake Ridge looking down into the lake country from a rock outcropping approximately 450 vertical feet above the lake,
SquamLake-4.jpg
SquamLakeView.jpg
Here is a telephoto shot of white pines thrusting their sculpted crowns skyward. They are located on a ridge on the opposite side of the lake. As you can see, they are not young trees. I guess many are between 150 and 200 years old.
SquamLake-WPs.jpg
And now, a shot from the deck of the lodge. The surrounding red pines are gorgeous.
SquamLake-RPS.jpg
As Monica and other accomplished musicians played, the haunting sounds of their instruments filled the space around us. It could almost have been an experience from Nineteenth century Europe. But the elegant sounds of the instruments were matched by a captivating scene. The forms of nearby trees, the lake's sparkling waters, and the blue of distant ridges created a composite scene, presented to us through the large windows of the Long House Lodge. That name, itself spoke volumes. It wasn't Europe. It was New England - New England at its glorious best.

We will return next year. There are small areas of virgin forest on the fingers that extend out into the lake. I'll be prepared.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:32 pm

Yer a lucky man to be able to take these trips to such gorgeous places.

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dbhguru
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by dbhguru » Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:17 pm

Robert,

Attached is the full write-up. I submitted a quick trip report to the BBS and then developed a more extensive report for Monica's musician colleagues.

Yes, I am indeed lucky. I think about that a lot.

Bob
Attachments
Dear Friends.docx
(1.61 MiB) Downloaded 104 times
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by AndrewJoslin » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:09 pm

It's been a long time since I've been on the Rattlesnakes above Squam. Great place, thanks for the report.
-Andrew

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Larry Tucei
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by Larry Tucei » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:57 pm

Bob, Beautiful photos. I bet you can't wait to come back and measure those whites in the one photo. Watch out for Irene. Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by dbhguru » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:57 pm

NTS,

One more image from the lookout.
SquamLake-Rattlesnake.jpg
Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by James Parton » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:46 pm

Bob,

I remember the movie and read the book " On Golden Pond " many years ago. It's a classic.

The lake makes me have an urge to go fishing. It looks like a nice place for that.

I wish we had some Red Pines here in NC for me to see. I am not familiar with the species.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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dbhguru
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by dbhguru » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:34 am

James,

Pinus resinosa or red pine is a two needled northern species. I think there is a relict colony in West Virginia. That is as far south I've every heard of it growing naturally. The species is native to Massachusetts, but sparsely distributed. You see it mainly planted around reservoirs. Farther north it appears in rocky areas and is distributed more widely. In areas of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, it can form impressive stands. Red pine can get to be fairly large and tall, although a 9-foot girth red is a whopper. It can top 100 feet in good growing areas, but seldom surpasses 120. In Mohawk, we have one red at 121 feet and one on Mount Tom Reservation at 122. Those are our tallest in Mass. Will Blozan and I measured red pines in Hartwick Pines State Park, MI to 144 feet. Visually it is stunning. Ages can exceed 400 years.

Here are some images of reds. Lots of repeats, but the series speaks to the beauty of the species. Here are a few more red pine images. The first shows plantation pines in MTSF. The second are stunted reds on the escarpment of Mount Tom. The third looks off the porch of the Long House where we stayed. The last is near that spot at the water's edge - a stunted red looks out over the water.
MTSF-RedPines-4.jpg
Slide50.jpg
SquamLake-RedPines-1.jpg
SquamLake-RedPines-2.jpg
Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by James Parton » Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:35 am

Bob,

For some reason I think the Biltmore Estate may have some planted Red Pine. Will may remember this.

The one off the back porch catches my eye the most. Beautiful!

I hope you weathered the storm OK?
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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dbhguru
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Re: On Golden Pond

Post by dbhguru » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:56 am

James,

I wouldn't be surprised. Red pine is Monica's favorite species.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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