Whiteside Mountain February 9, 2014Posted by Jenny in hiking, nature, Southern Appalachians.
Tags: pluton, Whiteside Mountain
I did a short hike yesterday morning, going to visit a pluton in southern Jackson County, NC. Like Looking Glass Rock and others of our neighborhood plutons, it is a mecca for rock climbers. But I didn’t do any friction climbing—I just went up the “yak route.”
By the way, I haven’t done any rock climbing for years, but I do have a route on Looking Glass to my credit!
I had several unusual tree experiences on my trip. This was the first—I don’t believe I’ve ever seen these two kinds of pines next to each other. They belong to different environments.
I know my friend James Locke will appreciate the above caption. He seems to think granite is found everywhere in these parts, which has led to friendly disputes.
Whiteside is not quite a 5,000-footer.
I saw another of my unusual trees—a lone red spruce. I had heard that the Alarka spruce bog in the Cowee Mountains was the furthest south of any naturally occurring specimens in the East, and this lies south of that. Maybe the one on Whiteside was planted, but it seemed a bit odd—there was only one.
Additionally, I saw hemlocks of larger than sapling size that had no sign of the adelgid—always a pleasant surprise.
And finally, back down near the trailhead, I spotted an old, gnarly yellow birch that was practically hollow. But it was, amazingly, alive! You could see live branches at the top. (And no, I wasn’t confusing its branches with those of two young birches nearby.)