Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Into the Green Cathedral

Grapevine Vaulting over the Old Forest

This past Saturday about 20 people joined CPOP on our regular Old Forest hike. A beautiful day, the temperatures were in the low 80s, and the bright sunlight bouncing off the canopy made a nice contrast with the rich shade we often walked through.

CPOP's board historian, Jimmy Ogle, began with a short talk on the history of Overton Park before Naomi led the group into the Forest.

Old Forest Hike

So that we didn't lose any newbies in the wild, I brought up the rear of the hike. Accompanied by my family's still leash-resistant border collie pup (our hikes and the Old Forest are very dog-friendly), I had lots of time to notice cool new details like
  • This tree trunk separated in 2 near its base,

    Split Tree

    with both trunks extending all the way up to the overstory.

    Split Tree

  • A magnolia in the center of the Forest (no photo). Naomi confirmed later that the magnolia is not a native species for Memphis; their native habitat is south of Memphis. However, it's not invasive so its presence isn't harmful.

  • The beautiful mesh ceiling of grapevines above the trail near the East Parkway entrance (see photo at top). Naomi pointed out that the Forest's native grapevines hitch rides on growing trees to the top of the canopy where they get the sunshine they need.
    Grape Vines
    However, unlike the invasive, non-native kudzu, the grapevines will not choke and kill their hosts.