A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Congaree April 18 '09

Saturday, April 18th, saw us heading off  to the Congaree Swamp National Park.   The Congaree NP Forest is rated as being one of the top ten “ Old  Growth Forest” in the world.   For those of you who are not familiar with the term, “old growth” refers to a forest which is tall enough that its upper canopy has shaded out the under-story vegetation, leaving the forest floor relatively open to view.
Open Under story
Dogwood in Bloom
In North America, only the conifer forests of the Western U.S. coastal region are substantially taller. (E.g. the California Sequoia forests, and the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula are taller).  East of the Mississippi, just a few patches of white pine and some cove forests in Great Smoky Mountains NP are taller. When compared to all of the world's forests, Congaree is among the tallest. 

The average canopy height is over 100ft tall.  Congaree has one of the tallest temperate deciduous forests in the world, and is taller than the old-growth forests found in Japan, the Himalayas, Southern South America and all of Eastern Europe. 
That being said, we were still startled by how different this forest is than any other we have ever visited.     

 For one thing it is a true swamp.  The Congaree River snakes its way through much of the Park.  Much of the forest is regularly flooded by the overflow of the Congaree River.  Many of the trees in the flooded wet sections of the forest are bald cypress. 

Bald Cypress
  (If you look at the dark moss around the lower trunk of the tree you can tell how high the flooding reaches on the tree.) 

  Because of the flooding, there are many natural lakes called “Oxbows” within Congaree National Park, which used to be bends in the Congaree River. Some formed thousands of years ago.   

The reflections in these areas are beautiful

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