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In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:18 pm
by pdbrandt
Dear NTS,

Last week my 9-year-old daughter, Sarah, accompanied me on a kid-friendly business trip to the Asheville, NC area just minutes from some of the tallest and most massive trees in North America. The Boogerman Pine is 186' – twenty one feet less than when it had its full top in 1995. See http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... german.htm for Boog pictures and more details. The Sag Branch Tulip (http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... _tulip.htm) is the most massive living tulip poplar known to man.

My daughter Sarah and I parked at the unmarked trail head, crossed the swollen creek (see picture below), and set out on the trail. At a moist spot in the trail we saw what I think were Pipevine Swallowtails (Battus philenor).


Click on image to see its original size


Click on image to see its original size


Click on image to see its original size

We took the left onto the Boogerman Trail and headed up the hill. Brian and Will both warned me that the Boogerman Pine was easy to overlook and they were right. I’m sure I set eyes on it many times, but I couldn’t tell you which one of the many towering white pines it was.

A little disappointed that we couldn’t positively ID the Boog, we forged ahead on toward the SBTP. We passed a group of hikers from the “Friends of the Smokies” who had never heard of the Boogerman Pine or the Sag Branch Tulip Poplar, but did tell us to check out the hollow poplar along the trail a couple of miles ahead. We found the hollow tulip, which has a CBH of 18’, 4” by my measurement. The tree is completely hollowed out all the way to where it splits into a compact canopy. In one of the pictures below you can see a pin prick of light nearly 90 feet high when looking up inside the tree.


Click on image to see its original size


Click on image to see its original size


Click on image to see its original size

Out of respect for Will and others who know and love the Sag Branch Tulip, I will let them be the ones to share the location of this special tree with those who choose to contact them, but suffice it to say that as we followed Will's directions to find the Sag Branch Tulip we encountered many tulips including at least three 13’+ footers and one massive 17’, 1” CBHer. At last we saw a huge tulip crown rising above a small knoll. In Will’s directions he said “the immensity will draw you in”, and he was right. There was no doubt that we had found the crown of a tulip in a league of its own. We stumbled over the underbrush keeping our eyes on the crown until at last we could make out the huge 22 foot girth trunk. It is a truly amazing tree surpassing any other tulips in the cathedral by 5 feet or more in circumference. We took pictures, had a snack, and admired the healthy trunk and robust, symmetrical crown. Sarah wondered if she was the youngest person, at 9 years old, ever to visit the Sag Branch Tulip Poplar.


Click on image to see its original size


Click on image to see its original size

We made our way back to the car just as the sun was beginning to set. As we left the Smokies we stopped to get a photo of a couple of wild turkeys along the roadside and then continued on our way to the Asheville Cracker Barrel for a late and well-deserved dinner. It was a day that neither of us will soon forget!


Click on image to see its original size

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:54 pm
by Chris
Thank you for posting that. Besides the obviously amazing trees, it is always heart warming to know there are still parents that help their children form a relationship with nature. It is so easy to get disillusioned and think "kids now are so into their iPhones" they aren't getting the nature experience that, I would bet, every member here had as a child. :-)

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:57 am
by Gary Beluzo
Wow, superb report..great photos, wonderful narrative, adorable daughter. Thanks for posting...

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:19 pm
by ElijahW
Patrick,

Thank you for sharing your experience and pictures. Cataloochee is one of my very favorite places, and I have photos of pretty much the same spots as yours. I, too, couldn't positively locate the big Boog, but the extraordinary character of the whole place and necessary constant neck-craning exercise made up for that. I haven't tried to find the Sag Branch tulip, but again, it's not a big deal. I'll just go after it another day. Hopefully your daughter will one day be able to return with her children and they'll get to take part in the art of intentionally seeking out nature's beauty (minus the dead hemlocks).

Elijah

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:25 pm
by bbeduhn
Patrick,
I'm glad we didn't lead you on a wild goose chase. The first time I looked for the Boog, I overlooked it as well. You wouldn't think it possible but it's very easy to do. You did get to enjoy the cathedral and the Sag Branch Tulip so it was well worth the trip. Kudos on taking your daughter. She's a tree climber and an old growth hiker, two things that, sadly, most American adults have never tried.

Thanks for getting the 18'4" circumference. I thought it might come closer to 20' but that's still a fine specimen.
Brian

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:32 pm
by pdbrandt
Thanks everyone. Sarah had a great time and was quite the hiker. I'm blessed to have a spunky daughter who loves the outdoors.
lucager1483 wrote:Patrick,

Thank you for sharing your experience and pictures. Cataloochee is one of my very favorite places, and I have photos of pretty much the same spots as yours. I, too, couldn't positively locate the big Boog, but the extraordinary character of the whole place and necessary constant neck-craning exercise made up for that. I haven't tried to find the Sag Branch tulip, but again, it's not a big deal. I'll just go after it another day. Hopefully your daughter will one day be able to return with her children and they'll get to take part in the art of intentionally seeking out nature's beauty (minus the dead hemlocks).

Elijah
Thanks, Elijah. I see you're from Weedsport, NY. My wife grew up in Auburn and we lived there for a little over a year in the late 90's after we got married.

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:37 pm
by pdbrandt
bbeduhn wrote:Patrick,
I'm glad we didn't lead you on a wild goose chase. The first time I looked for the Boog, I overlooked it as well. You wouldn't think it possible but it's very easy to do. You did get to enjoy the cathedral and the Sag Branch Tulip so it was well worth the trip. Kudos on taking your daughter. She's a tree climber and an old growth hiker, two things that, sadly, most American adults have never tried.

Thanks for getting the 18'4" circumference. I thought it might come closer to 20' but that's still a fine specimen.
Brian
Hi Brian,

I wasn't quite sure which tulip you wanted me to measure so I measured a bunch of them. I'm glad the hollow one was what you were looking for. I am not the most accurate CBH measurer. The 18', 4" measure is the girth at breast height standing at the uphill side of the tree, which means on the down hill side of the tree I was measuring girth at close to 8 feet high. As I thought about it later, a tree on a steep slope like that should probably have been measured at breast height when standing at midslope not upslope. With the highly tapered lower trunk, measuring it that way might have given a reading of 20 feet.

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:08 pm
by jamesrobertsmith
That was mighty sweet of you to take your little girl along. All tree enthusiasts should at least get a chance to see the Sag Branch poplar. Well, maybe not everyone. The place would get trampled.

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:23 am
by Bart Bouricius
Thanks for sharing this post. I particularly enjoy the photo of your daughter at the base of the massive full frame Sag Branch.

Bart

Re: In search of the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tulip

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:28 pm
by Larry Tucei
Patrick, Great report and great photos. Taking your daughter is really cool she sure is the adventurer- must be like her Dad. Like everyone said thanks for sharing. What awesome trees are in the Smokies. Ive had the privilage to be with Will and company for a hike or two and it was something I'll never forget. Some of the most beatiful Forests I've ever seen!! Larry