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.