“I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree”. They are verses from my childhood. The poetry of Joyce Kilmer, or at least his poem “Trees”, was a mainstay of my youth. Last week I had the good fortune to visit a forest that is named in his honor. The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is tucked away in the very corner of western North Carolina. It has some of the last virgin forest growth on the east coast.
It is, simply, magnificent.
From the website:
A walk through Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is a journey back in time through a magnificent forest with towering trees as old as 400 years. Some enormous yellow-poplars are over 20 feet in circumference and stand 100 feet tall. The floor is carpeted with a garden of wildflowers, ferns, and moss-covered logs from fallen giants.
The only way to see the impressive memorial forest is on foot. The figure-eight Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail covers 2 miles and has two loops: the 1¼-mile lower loop passes the Joyce Kilmer Memorial plaque, and the upper ¾-mile loop swings through Poplar Cove, a grove of the largest trees.
We enjoyed the full two-mile hike and look forward to returning. It is the kind of place that will never be the same, no matter how often you visit. Even Tango was amazed.
For the next couple of blogs I will share images from the Kilmer Forest. Not all of its wonders are gigantic. Many are small and captivating. All are wonderful.☙