November 25, 2007

Slash Pinewoods of the Panhandle

In the last light hours of the day, I entered Apalachicola National Forest via Tate's Hell State Forest. At first I thought I would look for a trail to the river, then I just picked a random trail and drove in to take a look. There were a couple campgrounds near the river but I stopped and turned back just before. I tried to cram as much woods into my shots as possible.

On the Apalachicola River floodplain, slash pines canopied saw palmetto underbrush as far as I could see. After the timer industry clear-cut the entire native longleaf pine plantation, foresters seeded fast-growing slash pines as a placeholder till the land is ready for longleaf again.

In the middle and upper story of longleaf pinelands, you can hide a dozen turkeys easy. In the stark, widely-spaced slash pine, the gobblers might as well have a target on their heads. The longleaf pine will be a blessing to them and their playmates.

There is something dizzying about driving by forested pine woods. Something about the exact order of the trees.

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