On a rare day when both my honey and I were off of work by happy happenstance, we planned on hopping in the car and traveling the two hours west to visit the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. After seeing the Giant Poplar just outside of Highlands, we’ve been thinking of taking this tour. We were shocked by the number of dead hemlocks we encountered.
The stumps of fallen trees were awesome, though.
When we came across the dedication plaque on a boulder in front of a large tree that appeared to have been struck by lightning, I admit that I was disappointed at the size of the tree. Fortunately, we had only gotten to the center of the figure eight loop with the giants at the far loop.
Although my husband had downloaded an app that advised us on which direction to proceed we managed to bypass the back loop at the intersection, so on our first pass we missed the giants. We then backtracked to the memorial plaque and continued on the right side portion of Poplar Cove Loop.
I think our navigation error resulted in a more private experience of the large tree grove as when we first left the parking area a couple of other groups were just ahead of us. The sky was darkening with the possibility of an afternoon thundershower which lent a more solemn air to our tour. It is difficult to not feel awe in sight of these trees (of course the photos fail miserably to convey their grandeur).
These next few photos are some of the other cool sights we ran into along the trail.
We didn’t expect that Little Santeetlah Creek would be a nice spot to cool down, but our daughter thought it was the highlight of the trip so pack some towels too.