North Mills River

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James Parton
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North Mills River

Post by James Parton » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:00 pm

ENTS,

Waking up on Saturday morning I found it to be a really pretty day so I decided to take a hike up in one of my favorite old fishing areas, the North Mills River basin above the North Mills River Campground. I first got to know the area back in the summer of 1978 when my family camped here. I have fished here a number of times since then but this time my quarry was different. Trees! I was thinking upon entering the forest on how little it has changed in 32 years. I can't help but to wonder on how the forest is different, or how much it has changed over 32 years of time. 32 years is not much to a tree but considering on how much the forests have been cut and recut over the last 200 or so years one wonders how much they change over ones lifetime. Ok, I will quit babbling and get down to science.

Entering the forest just past the bridge at the beginning of Yellow Gap Rd just past the campground the trail follows alongside the left side of the river and crosses the river about a quarter mile up the trail. Boy, that river was cold. I wore my Chaco sandals knowing I would have to ford the river more than once. My toes were about numb before reaching the other side. After crossing the river the first time you enter a long field near where Wash Creek enters the North Mills river. I measured several nice trees on the uphill portion of this field which includes a nice Eastern Hemlock, White Oak and a Triple-Trunked Tuliptree. Several nice Pitch Pines are on the hill also. One measured in at a nice 116 feet tall. The big White Oak measured in at a nice 11' 11" cbh and is 88.5 feet all. Last year, a big pool in the river nearby contained a big 20"+ trout I hooked last year and lost. I wondered if that fish was still there.

Going on up the trail you cross the river multiple times. One crossing has a swinging foot bridge but all others are wading. I took notice of the areas Eastern Hemlock population. They were in various stages of decline. Some trees were amazingly healthy while others would be dead. Most showed life only high in the crowns. I enjoyed seeing a few nice green hemlocks. Those few were a treat. I wonder if someone may have treated them some time back or whether some just fare a little luckier than others.

While measuring the girth on a 102.9' hemlock I come across a nice fellow wearing camo and a boonie hat. We got into a nice conversation about trees, forests and the conservation of them. Naturally I told him of ENTS. The fellow had some experience with a clinometer and I told him of the ENTS sine-top-sine bottom method of measuring. We also talked about the vanishing hemlocks. Upon parting I asked him to check out our website and join if he wished. I feel he would have made a good ENT. I did not get his name.

I also left the trail several times to venture up some tributary coves along the river. One cove proved so nice and beautiful that I had to stop and sit awhile just to enjoy the beauty. I thought of the stready sound of the nearby river. The sounds of the birds and the gentile breeze through the trees. The leaf covered ground was nice and warm from the sun as I sat down. I did not want to leave. Later that night after coming home a line of storms moved through. We had thunder, wind and torrential rains. I thought of that place as I tried to sleep. How it must be at that time. The river was probably up so much to be uncrossable. Forests are special.

On the way back coming back into the field where I measured the oak I measured a big triple trunked tuliptree there. At 133 feet tall and 12' 11" in girth it was the largest tree measured this day. At least as far as height and girth go. However a huge White Oak at the opposite side of the field may have more wood. It has a much greater spread. The tulip splits fairly low to the ground and is a classic fuzed trunk specimen.

While measuring the big tulip another fellow came by with two kids and he asked me what I was doing. I explained a little about measuring trees. He mentioned about wanting to get his boy into tree climbing. I told him of ENTS and Will Blozan. He told me he knew a fellow by the name of Andrew. I said " Andrew Joslin? ". He said, yes. I told him that if I remember right that I had met him once, at Congaree and I talked to him on the ENTS list. That Andrew was an ENTS member. He said that he and Andrew were good friends. The fellows name is Craig. I cannot remember his last name.

Crossing the river for the final time I head on down the trail for the car. And back to my " normal " life.

Here are the measurements.

Species Girth Height Avg Spread

Tuliptree 6' 3 1/2" 106.5'

Eastern Hemlock 8' 5" 109.9'

White Oak 11' 11"! 88.5' 89.3'

White Pine 8' 7 " 124.7'

Eastern Hemlock 7' 5" 102.9'

Black Birch 3' 8" 80. 0'

Eastern Hemlock 8' 1 3/4" Only crown is green.

Pitch Pine 5' 7" 96.5'

Pitch Pine 5' 5 1/2" 96.7

Tuliptree 12' 11"! 133.0' Triple Trunked.

Pitch Pine 6' 1" 116.0' !

Pitch Pine 6' 9 1/2" 104.1'

Tuliptree 8' 7"


Can anyone on ENTS id what triangular leafed wildflower that is in one of my photos?

James Parton
Attachments
Big Tuliptree.JPG
Big Tuliptree.JPG (64.04 KiB) Viewed 1813 times
102.9ftHemlock.JPG
102.9ftHemlock.JPG (60.12 KiB) Viewed 1813 times
Big White Oak.JPG
Big White Oak.JPG (58.05 KiB) Viewed 1813 times
11ft11inWO.JPG
In North Mills River.JPG
What Is This.JPG
North Mills River Field.jpg
North Mills River.jpg
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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Steve Galehouse
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Re: North Mills River

Post by Steve Galehouse » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:03 pm

James-

Nice photos and trip report--I wish we were as far into Spring as you are. The triangular shaped leaf wildflower is Halbred-leaf Heaxastylis, Hexastylis arifolia, related to wild ginger.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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James Parton
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Re: North Mills River

Post by James Parton » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:53 am

Steve,

I found a closely related species in the nearby Pink Beds a while back. Hexastylis has a beauty all it's own.

http://www.duke.edu/~jspippen/plants/hexastylis.htm

Sadly, they may be planning to log this area.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic ... 8557527792

JP
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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Larry Tucei
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

Re: North Mills River

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:18 am

James, I agree with Steve good report. I haven't been in the Forest for while, shame on me. Sounds like you had a very good day! Larry

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jamesrobertsmith
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:32 am

Re: North Mills River

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:26 pm

Nice report. The last time I was in the area the hemlocks were really sickly. I didn't expect any of them at all to be alive at this point. So your report is a bit of a surprise to me.

The two hemlocks in the back yard of my wife's mom are both from Mills River. Her dad dug them up decades ago and transplanted them there. There were once three of them, but one sickened and died early on after planting. The other two have done exceptionally well and are quite large now...getting on toward 50 feet tall.

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James Parton
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Re: North Mills River

Post by James Parton » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:03 pm

James,

It sounds like your mother in laws hemlocks are doing well. Have they been treated?

JP
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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jamesrobertsmith
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:32 am

Re: North Mills River

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:26 pm

James Parton wrote:James,

It sounds like your mother in laws hemlocks are doing well. Have they been treated?

JP
Nope. I check them every couple of weeks. So far, no sign of hwa. I believe that they're so far away from other hemlocks and/or the vectors that transmit the infestations that they have yet to come in contact with the adelgid. If I ever do see any sign, we will have them treated immediately.

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