Road Trip – Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

Blue Ridge Road TripTrees – Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

For several years, I have known about this forest, located in North Carolina about 90 miles from Blue Ridge.  What makes this forest unique, it is the only piece of forest that has never been harvested in the Eastern United States.  The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest was dedicated to the memory of Joyce Kilmer who was killed in World War I.  Last weekend, we took a road trip to explore the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.

Measuring the base of the tree

a group of large trees

I realized quickly that the pictures I took would not do these trees justice, they just looked like other trees in the woods.  Without some sort of reference, you could not really tell how big they were.

These trees are truly magnificent, and are worth seeing.  There are plenty of wildflowers, mountain laurel and rhododendron growing along the creek and trail as you hike up to the Poplar Grove.wildflowers along juyce kilmer hiking trail

mountain laurel in bloom along Joyce Kilmer memorial trailButterfly resting on a Rhododendron

As I have thought about exploring this woods, my excitement built.  Here was a forest which had never been harvested, a mature hardwood forest!  As I arrived at the forest, I realized the errors in my thinking.  This forest had not been harvested, but that does not mean that it has not been ravaged by the effects of mankind.  First, the Chestnut Blight wiped out the towering Chestnut Trees in the early 1900’s.  Recently, the Wooly Adelgid and decimated the Hemlock Trees in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.  Recent spring storms had brought down many of the dead Hemlock Trees.  The fallen trees were only removed from the hiking trails, to make it safe for you to travel them.

Dead hemlock tree cut off of trailI would highly recommend the drive to discover these massive trees.  There is a picnic area along the creek, and primitive restrooms available.  A little further up the road is a scenic overlook and a rock outcropping to discover too!

scenic overlook near joyce kilmer memorial forestscenic rock outcropping near joyce kilmer memorial forest

Within 75 – 100 miles of Blue Ridge, GA are plenty of mountain wonders waiting for you to discover.  Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is one of those places you will want to explore.  Come stay with us while you discover one of Georgia’s Favorite Vacation Spots.

custom chopper at Cherokee County Cycles in Andrews, NCOn our way home, we stopped at Cherokee County Cycles in Andrews, NC and took a few pictures on their chopper.  Stop by as visit these nice people, Just look for the chopper, you can’t miss them!

 

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