Nature Conservancy’s West Branch Preserve Hike – November 18, 2008

Fortunately, I never formed the habit of checking out hikes before hand. Had I done so I would have gone somewhere else and 22 people would have missed a challenging and stimulating scramble through seemingly constant blow downs. We were in the West Branch Nature Conservancy Preserve on the West Branch of the Delaware River. Everyone was pleased to find that the big white oak on this property is still healthy although it has lost some large branches. In the small “old growth” stand of hemlock and pine, there were a number of trees down but none of the really large ones. The snowstorm a couple weeks ago caught many beeches still in their summer clothes and the weight of the snow took many down and broke tops out of many more. The evergreen Christmas ferns were numerous, this being their season. The other ground cover plants are dead and the snow has yet to cover the mostly prostrate ferns. The waterfall had plenty of water and the sun broke through often enough to keep the photographers in the crowd happy (or at least hopeful). Photographs include: 1) Place Sign, 2) Gathering of the Fold, 3) White Oak Specimen, 4) Massive Trunk, 5) Measuring the Circumference, 6) Decision Point, 7) Group Photo, 8) Tree Foundation, 9) Hemlock Stand, 10) Group Photo, 11) Waterfall, 12) Rock Wall.  Report by Nina and Joe Hart

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