Adventures in Trace Fork

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Blog series by Tony updated 08-24-2009 06:31 PM 7 parts 5865 reads 16 comments total

Part 1: Woodworker's Paradise

04-05-2009 01:19 AM by Tony | 4 comments »

Most Saturday mornings, I am hiking in Trace Fork Canyon in South Charleston, WV. Heavily wooded, steep, and rocky, the canyon is 300’ deep and runs several miles right through some of the most congested urban sprawl in West Virginia. You can literally go from shopping centers and subdivisions right into hundreds of acres of forested paradise in just a few minutes. Here’s a photo I took with a model airplane on a bright, hazy July morning, showing the canyon snaking away into the ...

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Part 2: Interesting Trees

04-07-2009 12:43 AM by Tony | 4 comments »

I always carry a camera with me in the woods, and have seen a lot of interesting things, like this massive fallen Red Oak. I was actually standing on this thing while I took the photo: At the spot where the trail from my mom’s property enters the park, this beast has fallen. My measly 16” chain saw would be no match for this monster: Lots of lightning hits. This one is all the way down on the canyon floor: (Every time I pass a big Beech, I wonder if there is a...

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Part 3: What a difference a week makes

04-21-2009 05:49 PM by Tony | 1 comment »

A week ago last Saturday, my son and I went hiking down in the canyon. It was quite windy and cold when we started, but by the time we’d hiked a couple of hours, we shed our jackets as the wind died and the sky cleared. My son helped me find some more branches for carving, and we found a small Hornbeam that had recently been taken out by a storm, and I cut a piece to take home for carving. This is my first experience working with Hornbeam, and peeling the bark reminded me of peeling a c...

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Part 4: Lessons in humility

05-27-2009 03:31 PM by Tony | 2 comments »

In another blog entry yesterday, I spoke of finding a small Cucumbertree specimen that had been taken out by storm damage. It was quite a difficult process identifying that tree, and I’m still only about 95% certain I’m correct. I have half a dozen or so references I use, and I try to work systematically, eliminating possible choices at each step. However, nature is very diverse, and plant taxonomy is both a science and a black art. I have been fooled before by variations in a species. Case i...

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Part 5: Any professional botanists in the crowd?

05-29-2009 07:27 PM by Tony | 3 comments »

In a recent blog entry, I stated I was about 95% sure a tree I came across was Cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata). Well I’m now 100% certain…that I was wrong. After further study, I am now certain that it is NOT Cucumbertree. So, the photos go back into my digital library of unknown specimens. Tomorrow morning, I head back into the wet forests for further study. The learning curve continues, and I am having so much fun!

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Part 6: After the flood, and a correction

06-01-2009 01:43 AM by Tony | 1 comment »

I spent the entire week eagerly anticipating a return to the forest. By 0730 Saturday, I was on the trails, and didn’t return to my car until nearly 2:00 pm. Crawling up and down some pretty steep trails was exhilarating, but I was pretty sore this morning, even with as much as I hike. I tend to forget I’m not a teenager any more. I have seen Trace Fork pretty high before, and even a creek as small as it usually is carries a lot of debris at flood stage. A few weeks ago, I fou...

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Part 7: Forces of Nature

08-24-2009 06:31 PM by Tony | 1 comment »

Saturday was a magnificent day for a hike. I spent much of the morning slowly walking about 3 miles of creek bed. For such a small creek, there are some pretty deep holes on it, and circumventing those at times was fun. We have had an unseasonably cool and very wet summer. It has made for very nice hiking weather, but I began seeing leaves changing and falling from the trees in late June. Here’s an example: I posted a photo a couple of months ago showing where Trace Fork had c...

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