Thursday, March 27, 2008


It was February 9, 2008 and winter had beared down upon us for far too long in our opinions, we decided the pretty day would be the perfect opportunity to bring our daughter to see the trees. The trees I speak of are the enormous 200 - 400 year old untouched tulip poplars that stand in the old growth forest known to us around here as the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, thus named after the poet, Joyce Kilmer, known for the work "Trees". Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is located in the Slick Rock Wilderness Area in Robbinsville, North Carolina, just off the Cherohala Skyway, and is part of the Nantahala National Forest.

The trail around the memorial forest is a easy 2 mile figure-eight loop trail that meanders through the forest and along the Little Santeetlah Creek. The four of us (Robin, Kiddo, and our trusty side kick Clover Beene) began the hike. The first half mile or so is very pretty with lots of vegetation and a few wooden steps along the way. You can just start to imagine the size of the trees on up in the forest at this point as you gaze at the one in the first half of the trail.

After the first half mile or so you come to the intersection of the two loops of the figure eight. Here lies a memorial to Joyce Kilmer. As we continued along the trail we really began to see the awesomeness of the tulip poplars in all their glory. At one point along the trail we all decided to see if we could wrap ourselves around one of the trees. We each took sides of the tree and stretched our arms as far as they could and just barely touch each others finger tips.

As the hike continued the trees got bigger and bigger. I believe the yougin' was rather impressed with the beauty that laid upon her eyes. Some trees we posed at pretending to try and climb with all our might. We came to a pair of trees that were close enough together so that we could climb up a couple feet between them with our backs on one and our feet on the other. We did so and took pictures of each other. Even Beene wanted in on this fun.

Before long we were back at the intersection and beginning the last section of the hike, which meanders through a thick growth of Rhododendron and eventually joins back alongside the creek. After a little bit we emerged from the trail pleased with the wondrous views. Once of the trail we made our calls to nature, found some sticks to use as wizard wands, which to this day kiddo stills likes to find sticks to play Harry Potter with.

If you have children, or love the outdoors and nature, we highly recommend this trail as it is relatively easy, and very beautiful indeed. Robin and I have now done the trail twice, but have yet to do it in any other season than the end of winter. We will definitely have to go back in the spring, summer, and fall to see the trees and their natural surroundings in the rest of their splendor.