Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

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James Parton
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Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by James Parton » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:53 pm

ENTS,

Early tomorrow morning I leave out with my stepson Brian Lyman and friends, Chris Craig and Smitty Peterson to spend two nights and three days in the Linville Gorge. We will access the gorge via the Spence Ridge Trail. We intend to do some serious fishing since the Linville River is loaded with Smallmouth Bass & Trout. The scenery in the gorge is beautiful though some areas have been hurt by the loss of the hemlocks. The river is some of the roughest water I have ever fished. However I am taking my measuring equipment and I hope to measure a few trees as well. Of course I will have my Camera.

I will give a report on my return. I might check in from my Blackberry phone if I can get service within the gorge. I doubt it.

Check out the pictures. They are from last summers fishing trip in the Linville Gorge.

James
Attachments
Linville Gorge Fish Fry 2009.JPG
Linville Gorge Fish Fry 2 2009.JPG
Linville River.JPG
Linville Gorge.JPG
Brian & Chris Fishing the Linville River.JPG
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
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New Order of Druids

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

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dbhguru
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Re: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:16 am

James,

If you'd like, you can come up here for a visit with Monica and me, but you'd have to catch fish like the ones in the image and cook them for us.

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: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by James Parton » Sun May 02, 2010 4:21 pm

Bob,

I would love to visit You and Monica. I would gladly cook the fish. I cooked the fish for our fishing group on both visits to Linville Gorge and also cook them at home.

Linville Gorge is abolutely georgeous. I did not want to come home this weekend. I'll post some on this trip in the very near future.

James
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: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by dbhguru » Mon May 03, 2010 8:48 am

James,

Linville Gorge is always a stopover for me on trips down the Parkway. The gorge was where I measured my first 150-foot white pine. It was with a crude, homemade instrument, but it got me into the ballpark. The measurement would have been taken around 1992. I scoured the area for 150s, but couldn't measure the candidates accurately enough with my device. I'm almost embarrassed to describe how I made it. However, if we ever have an ENTS museum, embarrassing or not, it would belong there.

Well Monica and I are off to stay in a cabin in Mohawk for a couple days. I'll have some kind of write-up toward the end of the week on the experience. Since, we'll be staying in the famous cabin #6, I'll have an opportunity to fine-tune some pine measurements. Maybe I'll concentrate on volumes this time.

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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Marcboston
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Re: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by Marcboston » Wed May 05, 2010 6:29 am

Great shots! Great place too!

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James Parton
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Re: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by James Parton » Wed May 05, 2010 1:07 pm

Marc. There is more to come, I am working on last weekends post.
James E Parton
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James Parton
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Re: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by James Parton » Thu May 06, 2010 8:28 pm

ENTS,

Last Friday I got up at 5am just before Smitty Peterson pulled into the drive. I grabbed my pack and other stuff that I had packed the night before and swallowed a pop-tart before we met Brian ( Joy's son ) who was staying at his girlfriends house. We then all packed into Brian's new truck and headed out to pick up Brian's friend Chris Craig before heading to the Spence Ridge trailhead into Linville Gorge. We made it to the trailhead by 8:30am donning our packs and hiked roughly a mile to our campsite on the Spence Ridge Trail. It is a nice place on the right side of the trail that is big enough to set up two tents. It is on the flank of Hawksbill Mountain.

We quickly set up and then chose to do our primary goal in being there. Fishing. The Linville River abounds with fish. Brown and Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth & Redeye Bass plus Bream and River Chub ( Hornyhead ). We caught 5 that evening with two trout over 15 inches. But dispite the nearby trail, fishing the gorge is not for the novice. It is a place of huge boulders, steep cliffs and deep rapids. There is one place where we had to climb a tree to get onto a huge rock so we could get around a deep hole. The banks are so steep that going around the rock itself would have been very difficult, if not impossible without climbing gear. Believe me, I am not part mountain goat and I was nervous. This is a place Will Blozan would love! During all the evenings fishing I noticed the trees and wildflowers around me. The place is beautiful, especially under a blue sky. I tried to get around a deep hole well above the Spence Ridge log bridge only to find I could not get back to the river. The cliff was straight down. Rhodo ( Carolina and Rosebay ) grew so thick along with Doghobble that I was on hands and knees going under them. Some of these plants were large old and knarly. I ended up turning around and returning to the bridge to access the Linville Gorge Trail hiking up the river to rejoin my fishing buddies.

As the sun set we returned to camp where we dined on some deer tenderloin cooked over a fire along with baked beans cooked over one of those tiny bunsen-burner looking camp stoves. They enjoyed their beer while I, who usually abstains from alchoholic drinks, settled on Gatorade.

It felt so good hearing the sounds of the night in Linville Gorge. Owls, Whipporwills and Coyotes are often heard. One coyote came very near the camp. I never saw him but heard him yip very close by. A Raccoon knocked some stuff over during the night waking us up. The sound of a nearby small creek, in which we obtained our water using a portable hand operated filter was always a soothing sound, especially at bedtime. Then there was another sound. Not a frog, but Chris and Smitty having the alchohol farts in the other tent. Brian was quiet in the tent with me. Thank Goodness!

Saturday Morning was wonderful. Waking up to the sound of the creek, the breeze in the trees and the birds of the forest. Also the forests energy seems so strong in the morning. Everything feels so alive. I thought " This is so wonderful ". Everyone getting up we quickly fix eggs and coffee for breakfast before hitting the Linville River again for a days fishing. Today is turning cloudy and may help in catching more fish.

Fishing the river near the junction of the Linville Gorge Trail and Conley Cove Trail, Chris Craig got my attention concerning a huge hemlock stump located there. The tree had been dead awhile, probably pre-adelgid. It had been a massive tree. The stump measured a whopping 14' 11" cbh at 4.5 feet above it's base. Chris wrote the measurement on my bait box with a piece of graphite he had found on the trail. I also found Devil's Walking stick for the first time. By grabbing it! Fortunantly I did not grip it hard. Chris brushed by one and got stuck good, leaving a piece of thorn imbedded in his skin. That will fester up nastily before working it's way out.

We did decent on fishing. Easily enough to cook us dinner for the night. I caught seven from one large hole! Another thing. Snakes are numerous. Water snakes are commonly seen. I pay them little attention but do keep an eye out for poisonous species.

Returning late-day I clean and prepare the fish while Brian and Smitty head out to get some stuff to cook with. Chris accompanies me in conversation while listening to his Coleman radio. Radios are ok to take camping but I prefer the sounds of the forest. It is more musical to my ears.

We walk up and meet Smitty & Brian on the trail. On the way back I hear the buzzing rattle of a rattlesnake. But with my dim lantern I never could find him. He was somewhere just off the trail in the dark woods.

Returning to camp I cooked some delicious fish and Brian heated baked beans. Chris pan-fried the potatoes. Again it was beer, liqour and gatorade for drinks. They had to drink all the beer so it would not have to be carried out the next day, so they felt good before bedtime. I don't like to drink. I like to keep my wits about me. Before bedtime it started raining.

Waking up to the sounds of the woods come morning I got up foregoing breakfast ( They had hot dogs and coffee ) hitting the trail to measure a few trees before we broke camp to head home. Last night Chris and I measured a couple of Tuliptrees just before dark while Brian & Smitty were gone. I wanted to add to that before heading home. I had noticed that many of the bigger tulips had that older look to them. In fact most of Linville Gorge is old growth so that was really no surprise. HWA has decimated the hemlock population in the gorge. I found only two sizeable ones still alive out of many. One had lost a branch and picking a twig from it off the ground I found every needle had an adelgid at it's base. Both of those living ones don't have long to live. The highlight of the morning was a huge White Pine. In fact one of the largest forest grown pines I have seen. It is not of record height. It is 129 feet tall but once was taller. It has a broken top. The tree also has a pronounced lean. The monster has a girth of 13 feet 4 inches!

Returning back to camp I find everyone packing up so I join them. Soon we hike out. I hate to go. Tomorrow I have to go back to work. It's like a different universe. We take a few photos at the truck before we remove our packs and leave. That uphill hike is exausting!

While dropping Chris back out at his home I measured a nice Pitch Pine in his yard. While not impressively tall it has a really pretty spreading form. It's one of the prettiest Pitch Pines I have had the pleasure of looking upon. The " Craig Pine " is a single trunked 9' 5" in girth! That is the third fattest Pitch Pine I have measured. My camera was packed away in my camping stuff so I have no picture.

Upon returning home I eat, unpack, take a bath and then watch Avatar!

In summary, Linville Gorge is one big AWESOME! I will go back there for a dedicated tree measuring expedition and soon. The place is on par with other great forests like GSMNP, Congaree and Joyce Kilmer. It is a shame that the hemlocks have been decimated so badly. Especially those endangered Carolina Hemlocks.

Here are the measurements.
Linville Gorge Trees.jpg
Linville Gorge Trees.jpg (48.7 KiB) Viewed 2439 times
James
Attachments
Wild Violets.JPG
Towards Wisemans View.JPG
Sweet Shrub.JPG
Red Eft.JPG
Looking down the gorge.JPG
Dwarf Iris.JPG
Devils Walkingstick.JPG
Devils Walkingstick.JPG (53.44 KiB) Viewed 2439 times
Chris & huge hemlock stump.JPG
Chris & huge hemlock stump.JPG (67.19 KiB) Viewed 2439 times
Smitty, Me & Brian.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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edfrank
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Re: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by edfrank » Thu May 06, 2010 9:09 pm

James,

The photo of the red eft brings to mind some interesting encounters. A red eft is the juvenile terrestrial phase of the eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) The red eft can range far from the water and often is seen in the woods at Cook Forest on hillsides well above the Clarion River. i was with a group of people on a hike at Cook Forest on a hike led by Dale Luthringer. They were everywhere. There must have been a dozen encountered on the hike. I would stand by the salamanders in the leaf litter to make sure they were not accidentally stepped upon. One example was on a moss covered log along the Longfellow trail. You could see the bright orange of the salamander against the green moss from fifty feet away. One certain person is colorblind and could not see the salamanders that jumped out at everyone else until he was close enough to distinguish their shape. The trip for me became more about looking for salamanders than anything else. Like a safari laking for big game. Or they would be big game if I were an inch high.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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James Parton
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Re: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by James Parton » Thu May 06, 2010 9:15 pm

Ed,

I am familiar with the adult form of the newt also. Actually one of us caught one from the Linville River. Lake Cascade between Brevard and Hendersonville has lots of em'.

James.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
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New Order of Druids

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

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Don
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Re: Linville Gorge_Spence Ridge

Post by Don » Thu May 06, 2010 9:29 pm

James-
Your friend with the Coleman radio reminded me of when we lived in Massachusetts (Hatfield, south of South Deerfield) and had guests visit us from New Jersey. They were having trouble sleeping (we lived a stone's throw from the Connecticut River in a nearly rural setting)...the solution was to provide them with a box fan, that they turned on for some "white noise". At the time, I thought that peculiar and characteristic of New Jersey folks...now I think it's city folks that are unaccustomed to silence, as their environment is virtually never silent.
Good trip report, should have had some fish measurement figures though...;>)
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