Virtual Nature Trail
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Observation Point 8 After climbing over a grape vine and through spicebush thicket you are rewarded with a beautiful panorama of the ravine and stream. Looking down this slope you see a very different forest ecosystem. The smooth, gray barked trunks of the American beech tree are increasingly abundant. The trunks of the beech trees have thick buttresses on their down-slope sides and are densely rooted into the rocky soil. The beech can grow in many locations, but they especially flourish in sites with the wet soils and very shady conditions that favor the growth of their seedlings.
(Read more about beech trees)


To the left of the Trail, a few feet downhill is a pignut hickory tree. This tree has long, forking bark ridges that are somewhat flaky and compound leaves with long, saw-toothed, spatula-shaped leaflets that are much wider at their tips. The hickory produces an edible nut that is eaten by many mammal and bird species on the Trail. Some of these nuts should be visible on the ground around the tree.

Pepperroot emerging in springThe cool, shaded environment of the ravine increasingly limits the growth of the under story vegetation. Christmas fern and May apple dominate the ground cover. Beech leaves and oak leaves are thickly layered on the soil surface. In the early spring (April) you may see Pepperroot (Dentaria laciniata) a wildflower named for the flavor of its roots.

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