Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Nantahala National Forest, NC

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“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of Robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”
Joyce Kilmer.
December 6, 1886-July 30, 1918.

If you’re not familiar with Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest or Joyce Kilmer / Slickrock Wilderness, check out this link, where you’ll find  more in-depth info on its history and links to other websites about the area:


 As a photographer, this has got to be the hardest place in the southern Appalachians to photograph! It’s very difficult to show the size of the virgin poplars without a human element. As you may know, I don’t often add any human elements to my landscapes. So, spring helps, somewhat, by giving us the addition of beautiful wildflowers that grow in profusion in and around the old-growth forest. Even then its hard to show the size of these monsters! Many of the giant trees in the forest reach more than 100 feet in height and measure 20 feet around at the base. Now, for you westerners, this is no big thing. But in the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s, we lost virtually all of our virgin forests to the industrial revolution in the north. It’s really amazing to look at my old family photos and see the mountains of this area stripped of trees. Clear-cut as far as the eye could see! Joyce Kilmer is one of the last places that, presently, we can visit and stand in a true virgin Appalachian forest. I always spend my first few minutes in this forest, speechless and holding back the tears!

The next few posts will be from my trip to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. I hope that you enjoy them!

 Morning light washes the virgin forest in its wonderful warmth.

 EOS 5D, TS-E 24mm w/ rise & very little tilt, polarizer 


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