Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Roundtop's Pine Trees

The forest around Roundtop is mostly an oak and hickory forest, with a fair amount of tulip poplar, beech and sassafras thrown in for variety. Conifers are in short supply. The edge areas have the requisite cedar trees, but a stand of pine trees, like those in today's photo, are rare.
I know of two more stands of pines on the mountain, other than this one, though one of those has been cut back recently, and the other is well down the mountain. I'm always surprised when I am near the pines at how quickly the sound of the forest changes. Leaves lapping on leaves change to whispers between pine needles. The pines are so much quieter than the ever noisy leaves. The smell changes too. Leaves smell of deep rich earth, and pines have a sweet smell.
I often find the whitewash of owls here, though they don't restrict themselves to the pine trees by any means. Still, they do seem to prefer them for sleeping and nesting. Once a bald eagle was roosting in one. I was walking on a trail when the bird suddenly came crashing out of the tree with a racket that was terrifying until I saw what caused the noise. The bird had been so deep in the tree that it was invisible, and I was within only a few feet of the tree when it spooked.
In the winter, I enjoy walking in the pines primarily because they are green in a brown and white landscape. In other seasons, I enjoy them for their sound and smell. When you live among oaks, as I do, walking in the pines almost feels as though I'm on vacation to some other new and vaguely exotic place. I enjoy the difference.


Anonymous said...

I like Pines too. Whenever I'm in a Pine woods it takes me back to where I grew up in Massachusetts. They certainly do have a different feel than hardwoods.

pablo said...

Are those pines natural, or were they planted during the Depression? Most of the pine forests in my part of Missouri were deliberately planted.

Carolyn H said...

Pablo: these are natural pines. Around here, during the depression era, people planted spruce. During the time these trees were saplings, no roads (other than a few logging roads) were this deep into the forest.

Carolyn H.

dguzman said...

Neat post. I too love pines. We have several different kinds in our yard, which is awesome. The BC chickadees love them too.

RuthieJ said...

I love the pines too, Carolyn. I have dozens planted in my yard, but the white pine is my favorite. The needles are soft and they smell good. Where I deer hunt, there are some old, gigantic white pines that fortunately no one has ever cut. There is an eagle family that lives in them also.

Carolyn H said...

Ruthiej: white pine is my favorite too, though the ones here on Roundtop are planted. The natural pines are black pine (I think. Memory is escaping me on this one at the moment).

Dguzman: Little birds can hide in those dense pines needles. I think that's why they like them so much.