A Naturalist’s View of the Narrows in Cumberland, MD

The Narrows   September 10, 2021, I hiked the six-mile out and back paved section of the Greater Allegheny Passage rails-to-trail through the Narrows in western Maryland. The Narrows reach 1,000 feet to cliffs and rimrock above Wills Creek, which flows into the Potomac River in Cumberland. My purpose with this Post is to chronicle […]

Big Tree

Side Highlights on My Hike to Sipsey Wilderness Big Tree

October 30, 2021, I hiked to the Big Tree in Alabama’s Sipsey Wilderness, Bankhead National Forest. This Post offers photos and reflections on the special sidelights I saw along the way. See my previous related Post offering reflections on the rough and bouldered terrain, torturous blowdowns, and the majesty of the Big Tree: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2021/12/08/an-eleven-mile-bucket-list-hike-to-the-sipsey-big-tree/ Once […]

Cumberland, Maryland: My Hometown…at the Intersection of Human and Natural History

Rugged Central Appalachians   The second week of September 2021, I returned to my hometown of Cumberland, Maryland, nestled along the Potomac River in the central Appalachians. I left Cumberland for my junior year of forestry undergraduate studies out of state in 1971. Over the course of 13 career-related interstate moves, family visits brought us […]

Big Tree

An Eleven-mile Bucket List Hike to the Sipsey Big Tree

October 30, 2021, friends and I hiked an eleven-mile circuit to see The Big Tree (State Champion Yellow Poplar) in Alabama’s Bankhead National Forest’s Sipsey Wilderness. I offer reflections on the rough and bouldered terrain, torturous blowdowns, and the majesty of the Big Tree. I reflect upon the hike with threads of bittersweet nostalgia and […]

Monte Sano

Early October Foray at Monte Sano State park

At the north Alabama intersection of late summer and early fall, October 4, 2021, I hiked the Wells Memorial and Sinks Trails at nearby Monte Sano State Park with my two Alabama grandsons Jack and Sam. We explored the deep-cove cathedral forest with towering yellow poplars, admired some tree form oddities, and examined other non-tree […]

New Germany

Maryland’s New Germany State Park — Returning after 51 Years

During my freshman/sophomore and sophomore/junior undergraduate summers I worked for the State of Maryland Forest Service performing forest inventory on the Savage River State Forest. Forest Supervisor Warren Groves had arranged housing in a still-functional CCC-constructed cabin at New Germany State Park, a stunning recreation setting surrounded by the State Forest. The Forest’s 55,000 acres […]

Hickory Creek

Pennsylvania’s Hickory Creek Wilderness

September 7, 2021, I hiked the Hickory Creek Wilderness in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in northwest Pennsylvania, about 40 miles west of where I conducted my 1985-86 doctoral research on soil-site relationships in second-growth Allegheny hardwood forests. The Wilderness forests are typical of the greater ANF across the Allegheny Plateau, second-growth and dominated by […]

Pennsylvania’s McConnell’s Mill State Park

September 8, 2021, I hiked along Slippery Rock Creek at McConnell’s Mill State Park some 40 miles north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This Post focuses on the Nature of this geologic, environmental, and historic gorge in west central Pennsylvania. Human and natural history intersect in nearly every wild place I’ve wandered in the eastern US. McConnell’s […]

Heart's Content

Heart’s Content in NW Pennsylvania (Part Two)

The Special Nature of an Old Growth Allegheny Hardwood Forest   September 7, 2021 I hiked and explored the Heart’s Content Scenic Area (a 400-year-old remnant of the original forest that covered the Allegheny Plateau when European settlers arrived in the 18th Century) in the Allegheny National Forest of northwest Pennsylvania. This preserved area is […]

HGH Road

Reading the Fragility of Forest Permanence!

Standing Tall is Never Permanent   September 25, 2021, I bushwhacked through a rich bottomland hardwood stand on the eastern end of the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Huntsville, Alabama. The photos of the magnificent cherrybark oak immediately below came from a visit to the same riparian forest last winter. I present this cherrybark oak […]

WNWR

Mushroom Rambling Early October in Two Distinct Alabama Forest Types

Bottomland Hardwood Forest along the Tennessee River in Madison County, Alabama October 9, 2021, a friend and I roamed a mature bottomland hardwood forest searching for mushrooms that we anticipated would be flourishing after nearly three inches of rain fell the week prior. We were not disappointed. We hit the jackpot with honey mushrooms (Armlillaria […]

Heart's Content

Heart’s Content in NW Pennsylvania (Part One)

Venturing into a Pennsylvania Old Growth Forest   September 7, 2021 I hiked and explored the Heart’s Content Scenic Area, a 400-year-old remnant of the original forest that covered the Allegheny Plateau when European settlers arrived in the 18th Century, within the Allegheny National Forest of northwest Pennsylvania. This Post focuses on the origin and […]