Last Saturday we drove to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and found it to be a magical place. Some of the trees within this natural forest are over 450 years old. Some of the tulip-poplars are more than 20 feel circumference and 100 feet tall. I was amazed.
The loop hike is just over two miles and winds through a dense canopied forest. We began at a foot bridge with a stream. I love the fact that Pat and Anne began taking photos immediately. Pat is in the foreground and Anne is in the background—snapping away.
This forest is one of American’s most impressive remnants of old-growth forest. The 3,800-acre forest was set aside in 1936 as a memorial to the author of the poem “Trees,” Joyce Kilmer, who was killed in action in France during World War I.
Pat was just peeking in-between these two giants! It has been protected by the government so generations to come can enjoy it. The trees on the upper loop are huge. I understand that much of the forest surrounding this area was once clear cut for lumber. While the surrounding area may have been touched by axes, this dedicated forest remains as an example of what our country would have looked like if left to grow freely.
Joyce Kilmer Memorial is part of the wilderness area that covers 17,000 acres in North Carolina and Tennessee and provides an example of primitive mountain area. Like other wildernesses, it is managed to protect naturalness and solitude. Trails are minimally maintained with no blazes (marked trails) allowed.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
We’ll definitely return to this forest and come back with tripodes so we can handle the low light that comes from being dense woods. Or maybe we’ll return in the winter when the trees are bare and wind-blown. That would be nice.