Cove Creek, Bradley falls, Polk Co., NC

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bbeduhn
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Cove Creek, Bradley falls, Polk Co., NC

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:47 pm

I had intended to do some measuring at Chimney Rock State Park but when I arrived at the gate I was notified that there was a trail closure due to ice, the primary trail I would be using. Ice, really? I guess if you pay admission you are not able to take risks like trekking on a wide trail with a few patches of ice.

I quickly recalled that Bradley falls wasn't all that far away, so I headed there...and so did about 40 other people. This is a popular trail which traverses a portion of the Green River Gamelands. I intend to get to the Green River at some point as well. The Bradley Falls Trail goes in opposite directions from the parking area, one direction to Little Bradley Falls and another to Big Bradley Falls. I was immediately struck by the prevalence of hemlock, which did not appear to have been treated. Like I usually notice on untreated hemlocks, these trees are somewhat defoliated but most needle higher up in the crown are present. They are not thriving but are doing better than just hanging on. I noticed one dead hemlock out of a few hundred or so. I didn't expect too much in the way of tall hardwoods but one cove provided a pleasant surprise. Most of the hardwood measurements came from this one cove. Apparently, there is some old growth below the falls. A rope is set up to climb down the rockface next to the falls. I didn't even approach the falls on this visit. I'll head off trail next time and find a more gradual descent.

Little Bradley Falls is mostly acidic. I didn't have time to get all the way there so I'll revisit that section of trail in the future as well. White pine tower over the stream and are joined by hemlocks and some hardwoods.

Tsuga canadensis hemlock 132.7' 123.9' 123.2' 119.8' 117.9' 116.4' 116.0' 115.5'

Pinus strobus white pine 139.1' 137.4' 130.5'

Robinia pseudoacacia blk locust 134.4' 125.9' 125.3'

Quercus alba white oak 134.0' 127.7' 127.2' 126.0' 122.7'

Quercus velotina black oak 126.8' 112.8'

Quercus rubra red oak 132.2' 120.3'

Liriodendron tulipifera tulip 151.1' 148.7' 148.3' 145.0' 143.0' 140.0'

Carya alba mockernut hickory 118.3' 115.9'

Carya ovalis red hickory 105.7'

Magnolia acuminata cucumber 123.9'

Fagus grandifolia beech 98.0'

Betula lenta black birch 96.1'

Aesculus flava yellow buckeye 93.0'

Platanus occidentalis sycamore 109.9' 109.6'

Fraxinus biltmoreana Biltmore ash 113.1'

Pinus echinata shortleaf pine 99.9'

Pinus virginiana VA pine 95.0'
hardwood cove with 148' tulip in center
hardwood cove with 148' tulip in center
R10 = 129.82' so far

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Cove Creek, Bradley falls, Polk Co., NC

Post by Erik Danielsen » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:15 pm

Sounds like a beautiful place to be. A question, based on this and other southeast sites you've posted recently- I notice that it often seems that Red Oak and White Oak are neck-and-neck, with white oak sometimes maxing out taller than red. Where I am in the northeast, it seems that red oak is very consistently 5-10' taller than white oak, across a variety of sites and conditions. In your observation do white and red oak exist at pretty equal stature in most southeastern forests, or is it more a reflection of your personal sampling patterns? Does white oak take the lead in some forests and reverse the pattern I see in the northeast?

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mdavie
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Re: Cove Creek, Bradley falls, Polk Co., NC

Post by mdavie » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:41 pm

They're more worried about big chunks of ice falling off of the cliffs as they thaw and dropping at random times. There were some pretty damn big sheets on the cliffs when we were there last week. If you're on the hickory nut falls trail you're right under those.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Cove Creek, Bradley falls, Polk Co., NC

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:58 pm

Mike,
That makes more sense than just ice on the trail.

Erik,
Red oak generally has the edge on height but on many sites I've sampled, white oak has edged out red. I've found that on drier sites white often edges out red. More moist sites usually favor red and often white doesn't even grow in some of these sites. Oak height generally goes red, white, chestnut, black, scarlet, southern red but I've found a couple of sites where black ruled. It depends on soil type and moisture but I'm getting a little out of my depth. There are others on this site who could shed more light on the issue.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Cove Creek, Bradley falls, Polk Co., NC

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:37 pm

Cove Creek, Bradley Falls approached from below the falls

I'd heard about a champion buckeye perched at the bottom of Bradley Falls. I plotted out a course and attempted to measure it. My efforts were thwarted by recent landslides, which wiped out a portion of the trail and what I believe was a bridge. I could see a trail continue across the creek but the water was rushing over slickrock. Staying on my side of the creek and climbing above was not an option due to steepness and a series of landslides.

I measured just a few trees. The hickories were the only ones of note.

mockernut 121.6'
pignut? 125.4'

The pignut could be pale or red. The leaves appear to be pignut and the bark could go any way.
hickory
hickory
hickory 2.jpg
hickory 3.jpg
hickory 4.jpg
landslide 1.jpg
landslide 2.jpg
landslide 3.jpg

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