Saturday, June 4, 2011

Its Trees, GSMNP!

Can you see the beauty in this tree that I see? It has such graceful branches reaching up to the sky. The lichen covering each and every branch and the trunk of the tree adds such beauty and depth. I photographed this beautiful tree while standing looking out at Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park several weeks ago. It stands along the main walkway at the Gap.Trees are one of many plants that make up this beautiful park and make it a treasure to visit. The diversity of the trees from Cade's Cove to Newfound Gap to Clingman's Dome is vast. There is such stark contrast. This red pine tree I photographed while driving through Cade's Cove. I was close to the end of the drive through the Cove where you travel through a dense forest. Such beauty I encountered here. I chose this image as one of the main images in my header because I believe of all of the many components that make up our natural world, trees are at the top of the list.Notice in this next image, the stark contrast of the trees from Cade's Cove, the lowest elevation in the park, to Clingman's Dome, which is the highest elevation within the park. A beautiful healthy Fir tree grows next to a dead Fir tree destroyed by the Balsm Woolly Aphid. You'll notice this process is repeated time and time again throughout this higher elevation. The Balsm Woolly Aphid has killed 95% of the mature Fir trees in the higher elevations of the park.I visit Clingman's Dome almost every time I come to this park. While it is sad to see so many dead Fir trees, it is a reminder that Mother Nature has her own plan. And it also serves as a reminder to all of us that we are just visitors here, while this beautiful Earth is forever.

The beauty of this park, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Every time I visit, I find myself marveling at its diversity and beauty. If you haven't visited this park, I hope you will some day. Stay cool, it's going to be a hot weekend. ENJOY

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