User Tag List

Informational! Informational!:  0
Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 8 of 34

Thread: A Hike Through the Tongass (DUW)

  1. #1
    Aristoloingulamata Dexenthes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Southern Tongass Rainforest, Alaska
    Posts
    3,708
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    A Hike Through the Tongass (DUW)

    Yesterday I went on a seven hour hike through some interesting Southeast Alaskan rainforest.
    The following pictures will show you a bit about the area that I live and the forests and sphagnum bogs that I've grown up in and have come to love.

    The trail head is a an old stretch of boardwalk that is pretty unnerving to walk at dusk or night time!

    The board walk ends and some dilapidated water tanks make a good....

    Vantage point to scan the horizon. I'm headed somewhere I have never gone before so I need to get my sense of direction oriented.

    Having set my sights to the direction I want to head, I plunge into my "trail"

    After a scraping and intensive bit of warm-up bushwhacking I stumbled across the first section of true sphagnum bog.

    I find the micro-flora of the sphagnum bog (or Muskeg as we call it) very charming and fascinating, here we have some sort of clubmoss with a very small form of Ground Juniper in the background.

    And an interesting Lichen formation with more ground juniper.

    These muskegs are not tennis shoe friendly, and walking amongst the deep sphagnum moss is one of the best feelings in bare feet (I'm wearing sandals). These types of bogs can be home to Drosera rotundifolia, Drosera intermedia, Pinguicula vulgaris, and some Utricularia, however this particular bog was not rich in any of those.

    However, whatever kind of bog it is, there is bound to be some beautiful forms of decay

    And this patch of Muskeg did contain the somewhat common Bog Blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) which strangely rarely produces fruit and when it does has very few, though they are of a most desirable and interesting flavor.

    And there was no shortage of the charming, very petite, yet bountiful Bog Cranberry (Oxycoccus oxycoccus) and vibrant orange Sphagnum moss.

    The bog ended and I plunged back into thick forest still dominated by bull pine and yellow and red cedars. Here the much more common and more widely known blueberries preside, the Oval-leafed Blueberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium) on the left, and the Alaskan Blueberry (Vaccinium alaskanense) on the right, both of which have very delicious berries with their own distinct taste.

    Despite the feeling that I was the first and only person to go through these woods there is always a reminder that someone has passed by before. I'm just glad it wasn't a beer can. Watch your toes!

    Dozens of blueberries later, a few eerie rustlings of the bushes nearby and I came to a break in the woods, not what I was looking for...

    But beautiful nonetheless.

    And the rotundifolia grow right up to the shore.

    Unmistakable paw prints tell me that now is no time to stop making the clanging noise with the piece of iron that I had brought with me.

    Along the shore there were some interesting plants growing.

    And also the Dwarf Blueberry, the fourth of our four species of Blueberry that grow on the island and perhaps the rarest, although the plants are not hard to find, finding a berry on the plant can be almost impossible, this was a rare shot. On the whole four mile hike I went on, I found maybe ten of these berries. The worst part is that they are so delicious! (Vaccinium caespitosum)

    And there was a cranberry patch worthy of stopping and picking. (I'm munching on these right now )

    Just nearby there were some Red Huckleberries (Vaccinium parvifolium), a very common, extremely tasty and high yielding berry bush that all the locals are familiar with.

    And why not add some interesting cotton grass that was growing on the shore.

    But the truth is I've already been to this small lake before so no time to stop, I plunged back up into the woods on the opposite side and kept going until I entered the magical Yellow Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) forest. Whether living or dead, these trees are majestic.

    Yellow Cedars are the oldest living tree in the region and I once counted the rings on a tree that was maybe eight inches in diameter, it was roughly 150 years old.
    LOOKING FOR: N. (argentii x bicalcarata) x {[(lingulata x edwardsiana) x (naga x hamata)] x [(klossii x undulatifolia) x (aristolochioides x rajah)]} Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=124586

  2. #2
    Aristoloingulamata Dexenthes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Southern Tongass Rainforest, Alaska
    Posts
    3,708
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So a tree like this one, has most likely been here a good long while since before Columbus.

    Through this forest and over a crest I encountered a small stream, I paused before leaping across to the other side to eat a blueberry.

    The rest of the surrounding area is dominated by bull pines and yellow cedars which can endure the low nutrient environment, this small stream, however, provides just enough nutrients to nurture a long Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis), the largest tree in the region, this one is quite small.

    Though the stream was pleasant and ripe berries were abound, I wouldn't be tempted by the urge to follow it.

    So on my ascent on the other side of the stream I ran into a couple of larger Red Cedars. (Thuja plicata)

    Red cedars, like Spruce, need more nutrients to thrive, this small stream provided just enough for these trees. Note the quarter for size.

    Much of the next mile was not documented, and was mostly dominated by my own swear words as I plunged through leg scraping brush, small serene brooks lined with Skunk Cabbage like this one, were not uncommon.

    But it was mostly back into the Yellow Cedar forest. Not only are these trees the oldest but I find them to have some of the most peculiar growth habits. In this picture you can see that not only are they full-sized trees, but they can be moderate sized shrubs, and even smaller brush like plants just barely poking out of the sphagnum.

    And their extremely rot-resistant wood never fails to form some interesting decomposition.

    Along the way I found an example of a Huckleberry bush which was exhibiting tear drop shaped berries, a phenomena that can be witnessed in nearly all the Vaccinium species, I wonder what causes it....

    Finally after three grueling hours of thrashing through berry bushes and destroying spider webs with my face, I came across the Muskeg that I had been searching for.

    The sphagnum islands are something that never cease to amaze me.

    And the trees that manage to grow in these bogs are extremely stunted. I can't say for sure but if I had to guess, I would say that this Yellow Cedar is easily over a hundred years old.

    The ponds were beautiful and the lily pads were a nice touch. I tried to get a picture but it's not hard to believe that I couldn't, of the mating dragonflies.

    But there really wasn't much in CP department. This cute little D. rotundifolia was one of the few examples.

    This Muskeg turned out to be not as exciting as I had hoped for, perhaps that could be because of how late it is in the season. But I did managed to find something new, evidence of Pond lilies being eaten by something, that's something I've never witnessed before.

    Along the margins of this Muskeg some of the most touching struggles to cling to life were found amongst the Yellow Cedars.


    So having reached my destination, I decided that it was much to rigorous of a hike to repeat twice in one day so I decided to follow my cardinal rule: Never go the same way twice. So I veered off and went perpendicular of my first path with the intent to run into whatever settlements I could find. But I had to stop and take a picture of this vivid red sphagnum (for all you CPr's )

    On my new path was an excellent example of Bear bread fungus eating away at a dead tree.

    And gradually I re-entered more Yellow Cedar forest, who's canopy was ideal to see all the way to the ocean, almost making the climb worth it.

    Then another example of perhaps the most endearing struggle I have seen by a tree to maintain life by another yellow cedar. Look closely you can see it has a branch still living and turned towards the sun.

    And of course, my new path lead me to new muskeg, with a new view of the ocean on such a rare sunny day.

    Finally the terrain started going down hill again and the forest became larger. Here is one of the largest Yellow Cedars I have seen. I would not be surprised if this tree was a thousand years old.

    Then again, another relatively massive Yellow Cedar with Salal berries in front.
    LOOKING FOR: N. (argentii x bicalcarata) x {[(lingulata x edwardsiana) x (naga x hamata)] x [(klossii x undulatifolia) x (aristolochioides x rajah)]} Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=124586

  3. #3
    Aristoloingulamata Dexenthes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Southern Tongass Rainforest, Alaska
    Posts
    3,708
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Yellow Cedar forests like these are becoming increasingly rare. Yellow Cedars need cold winters to grow correctly and a lot of the trees I have posted today show evidence of rot, death, and struggle. Climate change has affected them greatly in our region. And they are not a common tree to begin with.

    That doesn't stop people though, of course. Yellow Cedar's rot resistant wood is some of the most valuable and desirable timber in the world. Bittersweet as this photo now means I am close to home.

    Believe it or not, a Native American corporation is responsible for this particular clear cut.

    It's not the largest clear cut around, that's for sure.

    But Yellow Cedars are the slowest growing trees in the Tongass.

    And hundreds or thousands of years worth of logs lay to rot, of the most valuable and traditionally sacred wood.

    But don't worry! "It Grows Back"

    Just before the highway I ran into a Sitka Spruce that was in its prime.


    I hope someone enjoys these pictures, and I'm sorry for the length. I hope you found it informative.
    LOOKING FOR: N. (argentii x bicalcarata) x {[(lingulata x edwardsiana) x (naga x hamata)] x [(klossii x undulatifolia) x (aristolochioides x rajah)]} Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=124586

  4. #4
    Charlatan lizasaur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,002
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow! An extraordinary journey you had! Glad you found some Rotunds, atleast.
    This was incredible, and your commentary was most informative.

    The clearcutting was so...disappointing. So tragic and heart wrenching to see scenes like that.

  5. #5
    instigator thez_yo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    San Diego, USA
    Posts
    5,025
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow, I super extra want to go to Alaska now! That was both very beautiful, and very sad.

  6. #6
    Student of Life deeloc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    O.C. So. CAL
    Posts
    52
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sorry as naive as this sounds, I though Alaska was majority snow. It is very beautiful terrain there as you've shown in the pics. Thank you for sharing and enlightening me.

  7. #7
    jafvortex93's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Fort lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    479
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    dude that looks incredible. i too want to go up there now!
    Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings.

  8. #8
    Michael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska USA
    Posts
    124
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great photo-log of Southeast - Way to make folks in the Lower 48 envious!

    Mike
    Fishing: A Perpetual Series of Occasions for Hope....

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. went on my birthday hike today (30th)
    By cp-connection in forum Pitcher Plants: (Sarracenia, Heliamphora, Darlingtonia, Cephalotus)
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-18-2009, 11:41 PM
  2. Went on a hike - a pictorial (long)
    By nightsky in forum General Discussions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-15-2008, 05:15 AM
  3. My easter hike on sleeping indian
    By BigCarnivourKid in forum General Discussions
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 03-31-2005, 08:55 PM
  4. Went on a hike yesterday,
    By Spectabilis73 in forum Bromeliads, Tillandsia, Ferns
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-12-2003, 08:15 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •