Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Goethe Giant Strikes Again

I've taken you here before, but it was quite a while ago.
Last weekend, I slipped out with no destination in mind and landed in Goethe State Forest. I had not intended on going back to the Goethe Giant, but a forest road sign, "Woodpecker Road", called to me and I turned off the pavement and into the woods.

The scenery along Woodpecker Road was open piney woods, well managed for red cockaded woodpeckers and the like, but I wasn't in a piney mood, so I kept going. Truthfully, I was craving water ... a swamp, a pond, a marsh, but the forest was pretty dry.

Then suddenly Woodpecker intersected Cow Creek Road and I knew I should go to the Giant. It was a beautiful day, the sun was still high, and for once there would be enough light to shoot the Giant well.

Plus, the hordes of mosquitoes would by AWOL at this time of year.


The state forest folks have made access to the tree easier with a basic boardwalk over the sometimes flooded swamp near the big tree. The first time I was here was with my buddy Cindy. We had brought a bunch of 7th graders out on a field trip and there was no sign, no boardwalk, and no real path to the tree. The forest service guy just took us out into the swamp and then suddenly out of nowhere ... a giant appeared.

The mixed palm and hardwood hammock forest is a nice change from the surrounding hordes of pine and palmetto. This would be a hydric hammock due to the fact it's more wetter than drier, y'all.

Mesic hammocks are hardwood forests with sorta normal, medium moisture and xeric hammocks are ... yup, you guessed it dry hammock habitats. This may help you on a crossword puzzle by Will Short someday.

The Giant was hiding behind a sweetgum, but this was about as effective as Bear hiding behind Captain, the schnauzer dude.

Needless to say, I spotted him right away ... you can grow, but you can not hide.




Like most old cypress in the southeast, the Giant has been "topped" by lightning during nine centuries of growth. In the lightning capital of the world, our cypress elders never reach their height potential, but they do grow round.


Here's a closeup of the wound left by a massive branch that may have broken off centuries ago. Busy wasps were flying in and out of it.

Below, about 40 seconds of looking around the tree's immediate vicinity ... mostly peace and bird noise until the airplanes intruded.

I'm starting to really, really dislike all the gas guzzling, noise intruding flying machines.

I can't count the number of times I've shot a little video only to have airplane noise in the background ... even when I am in the middle of nowhere.

The sad thing is, we get so accustomed to the intrusion that sometimes I don't notice it until I watch the video.

THAT bugs me even more.


15 comments:

Kathy said...

Not too long ago, I read about a guy who records nature sounds for use in movies, etc. That's what he's done as a career for many decades and he talked about the increasing difficulty. Something like what took a week to get enough recordings just a few years ago now takes a month. Crazy, what intrudes on our lives. Just like I let this computer do too much intruding at times! LOL Don't even get me started on my son's cell phone usage. :sigh:

Kenneth said...

A few weeks ago, my wife and I trekked out to the Bee Island campsite at Myakka State Park. My goal was to escape civilization and hear nothing but the wind blowing through the leaves and see nothing but natural Florida. Time and time again, that natural Florida sound was stampeded by those flying machines (commercial types and private types). At times like these, I find myself yearning to get out into the back country of Alaska. I'm sure I'd still hear a flying machine or two....

Dani said...

Makes me wish for a time machine to go back and see the land before they cut most of them down.

Hurricane Teen said...

I really fear that the cypress near my house will also fall victim to boardwalks and signs. Those trees are even bigger than the Goeth Giant (372 inch circum) and are pretty far out in the swamp, too...I guess it's somewhat selfish to want to keep them to myself, but you and I both have seen what too much human access does to natural areas...It would be so sad to see all the trash and abuse. It's already happened at the farmstead they restored nearby...Many teenagers just love to abuse things, and those trees will be no exceptions...Before we know it, they'll be using them as cover for paintball games.
Maybe that won't happen around your neck of the woods, but it would sure happen here.
Well that was a really negative post! Sorry bout that :-)

robin andrea said...

That's quite a tree. Really impressive. I have found it difficult to really convey the girth of a tree, so I like what you did with your hand in the video. It does give a sense of the magnificence.

threecollie said...

Fabulous tree! I too find the planes aggravating each night when I commune with the stars for a minute before going in from work. There are usually at least six of them flashing and blinking between our horizons....reminding us of just how wild we are not.

swamp4me said...

I would hug that tree. And I agree about the airplane noise -- it's constant here.

Anonymous said...

FC-
You're sounding a little whiney and bitter. Having a bad day?
Lighnin

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Now that's a tree: Don't sweat the planes ... one day we'll miss them.

Deb said...

What an amazing tree. To think Western civilization as we know it was in the Dark Ages when that thing started growing...wow.

I have increasingly come to hate airplanes too, especially the small ones which seem to magically converge on our airspace here. Talk about noise pollution.

Floridacracker said...

Kathy,
I don't doubt that it takes that guy more time to record just natural sounds. You can't get away from them (planes) it seems.

Kenneth,
Yeah, probably some Bush Pilot would buzz by, but the pauses would be longer I guess.
Welcome to Pure Florida!

Dani,
There are others around it, and giant stumps that hint of once what was.

HTeen,
That's always my worry too.
Discovery presents a conundrum.

Robin,
I filmed my big feet walking around this tree and will try to post it too.

ThreeC,
Everywhere, they are everywhere!!

Swampy,
I did.

Lightnin,
I don't know where you read that. I did fuss about the constant intrusion from above, but that's a valid complaint.

Robert,
I don't use them, so the sooner the better.

Deb,
I always am in awe of all the "major" events that happened while this tree sat quietly living here in this corner of the planet.

Mark said...

How does one pronounce Goethe around those parts?

Thunder Dave said...

Thansk for the photos!
Now I can't wait to get back down there to check out our big trees again!

Floridacracker said...

Mark,
GO - THEE
Mr. Goethe was a timber guy who wanted 45,000 acres of beautiful land preserved and the state purchased it from him.

Hey Dave,
I wonder how the clearing looks now.

Stacey063 said...

I went to school with a kid with the last name of Goethe and he had us pronounce it "gurdee". I always thought that was weird - and in Florida too.