Friday, May 1, 2015

Wood Collecting Trip, Summer of 1949

Here's a delightful travel diary of a collecting trip by Harold Nogle and fellow members in the summer of 1949. From Wood Collectors Society Vol. 2, Number 10, October 1949.

Wood Collecting Trip
By: H. Nogle

This trip began by the combination of two trips. I was scheduled to go to Chicago, then fly with Hy Dentzman to go to Florida with Wib Opdyke, and later wanted Archie Wilson to go along. While this was taking form, Bill Pond was arranging for a trip through the Dismal Swamp with Archie Wilson, hoping he would bring Wib with him. All parties finally got together and made one trip, but unfortunately due to Mr. Opdyke's health, we were denied the pleasure of his company and the knowledge of his experience; therefore regretfully made the trip without him. The first get together was at Chicago, where after the meeting, Hy, Archie and myself, with Mrs. Nogle left in two cars for Cleveland. No collecting was done on the way to Washington, but there were three cars, as Ray Cottrell was with us as far as Houston, Pa., and we stopped a short time at this home there for a cooling drink, and put up at an auto court about 30 miles west of Washington. From here on it might be best to tell about this trip in the form of a diary.

Saturday, July 2: We got an early start and located the residence of W.A. Dayton, U.S. Forest Service; and at his home called Joe Stearns on the phone for directions to his place, where we were invited for breakfast. We had some trouble finding his place as the turn off the road was named wrong, however Archie came to our rescue with his psychic sight and we arrived at Joe's and had a fine breakfast, saw his woods, workshop, etc. After breakfast were were taken over his farm, and to his creek. Joe really has a fine place, the ideal for a wood collector. After that, we all drove over to Dr. Warren's house and with him as guide, went into the Pautuxent River Swamp. At the edge I picked up a large terrapin or turtle to take home to the boys, then we cut poison ivy. There was one vine about 8" in diameter but heartrotted, which was found out after cutting. Later Dr. Warren made a stick and knocked the bark off some 5" vine, which reduced it to about 3 1/2" but in collecting poison ivy, never do that, as it dries so quickly it splits all apart, but if the bark is left on its seasons perfectly. After coming out of the swamp plenty hot, tired, etc., the others presented me with 3 more turtles. Dr. Warren took a short cut to his house, got his car, and came back for us; then when we got back to his house made everyone an old fashioned mint julep. The three of us with Joe returned to his house where we had broiled steak out under the trees, plenty good and true Southern Hospitality in Maryland. About 4 P.M. we started for Portsmouth, Virginia, first having to make a back trip of about 30 miles where we had stopped the previous night to retrieve Hy's Panama hat, which he had left at the restaurant when he got so interested in that girl. [Ed. Note: Looks like some romantic intrigue was left out here...too bad] We drove about 200 miles and could not find any place to stop, all auto courts full, and finally Hy got us located at the Hotel, Suffolk, Virginia. Archie, Joe and I had one room and Mr. Dayton and Hy another.

Sunday, July 3: I think I got up first, barely daylight and got the car and went out looking for ice to put in our insulated can to cool some coco cola and beer, the beer being left over from the meeting at Wib's house, and acquired by Hy, who by the way is also a first class magician. Ice house closed, so came back to hotel and found Mr. Dayton and Hy already up, and finished breakfast, so they went back and had some more coffee with Archie, Joe and I. Hy got on a story telling contest with the cafe cashier, but we finally got him away and started out. We got lost from Archie getting out of town, but he soon found us out on the highway and we arrived at the home of Bill Pond in Portsmouth about ten o'clock. We met him and his family and took a picture of them, then met Earl Thompson and all of us went to a section of the woods adjoining the Dismal Swamp. Here we collected Viburnum prunifolium, Symplocos tinctoria, Oxydendrum arboreum, Bignonia capreolata, and Vitus rotundifolia, then back to the cars for Coke and beer. We made another trip into a different part of the woods, but I don't remember anything being collected except a quantity of Arundinaria tecta which I hope to glue into some kind of sample...then another ride to the hunting lodge over a road full of deep holes, where Joe managed to get across a deep ditch to cut a Sumac, after which we returned to Bill Pond's house where we had a wonderful fried chicken dinner. Joe had to leave early to get back and also take Mr. Dayton back, so the rest of us talked wood until time to leave for our auto court.

Monday, July 4: We went to town for breakfast, then to Bill Pond's house, where with Earl Thompson, we all went to the canal or big ditch which led to Lake Drummond in the Dismal Swamp. Earl had an outboard motor, so we rented two boats, put on the motor and took out up the ditch leading to lake Drummond, one boat pulling the other, with Earl and Bill in the motor boat and the three W.C.S. officers in the trailing boat, getting the exhaust smoke from the motor. This was a long ride of about an hour, then we came to the dam and the reddish brown water gushing out of the two escape valves, as the lake's level was 8 feet higher than the canal. The boats were put on a small truck on rails which ran down into the water under the boat, then hauled up and over the embankment and down into the water on the other side, this raised the boat 8 feet and we got into another canal at lake level. Another long ride and we finally came out into the big lake, took a cut over on one side and into a small outlet where there was a hunting house, where we tied up and went into the swamp forest. Just as we entered was a big rattlesnake, a whopper, which had been killed, as well as another big copperhead. We all got poles to stir up the brush ahead of us so we would not step on a rattler and have trouble. The wood collecting was hampered by the vicious "May" flies, which bit at us regardless of the insect repellent which helped a lot. We did not find much here, only cut a large Vitis rotundifolia, then came back for lunch at the hunting house, which had a screened porch which we got into to escape the biting flies. It was terribly hot and everyone was soaked with sweat, as no breeze at all in the dense growth. Wilson also cut a few cypress knees. We returned to the boats and started back. Took the boats back over the land down to the lower canal level, and the car ran off the track, and a little trouble was had getting it back on. On the way back we had Earl case our boat adrift, and we paddled over to the bank where there were lucious big ripe blackberries and watching out for snakes we ate plenty. We got back to the auto court about 4 P.M. and cleaned up, then visited with Bill Pond, went to town and sent some postcards and turned in early.

Tuesday, July 5: Started out about daylight and stopped after about 100 miles for breakfast. Most all day spent in riding and stopped for the day early at Myrtle Beach. After getting located we went back north on the highway into a spot of woods opposite the golf course and collected a small tree, being Persea palustris. In this place I found a large vine of Smilax wateri which could be glued into a sample. Archie and I went swimming that evening and when I came out and got in the car, I sat on my glasses and broke one lens out, so from then on had to read with one eye. While waiting for supper, I phoned Mrs. Nogle and arranged for an extra pair to be sent air mail to Gainesville, Florida. While Archie and I were in swimming, Hy saw some things around the auto court and wanted to cut down their shrubbery.

Wednesday, July 6: Started early in Florida. About ten miles south of Savannah we stopped and cut several large Daubentonia punicea and some Bacharris halimifolia and along here Archie cut a nice Wax Myrtle. A little before at 11 miles north of Washington, North Carolina, we cut a Mimosa or Albizzia julibrissum. Stopped early at Brunswick, Georgia and cut some bamboo, Bambusa multiplex and Archie got permission from the court manager to cut a Yucca aloifolia. We all ate some ice cream (finally got Hy to eat some too) and retired early.

Thursday, July 7: Left early, after an early breakfast at [a] good place adjoining the auto court, and in backing out I misjudged a parked car in the rear and hit his tail light with my head light, dented the front fender and knocked the rim off the headlight and broke the truck's tail light. We proceeded before any arguments [Ed.. ??? :-) ]  and arrived in Gainesville, Florida soon before noon, stopping at a few places to look but not cutting anything. Put up at the Florida motor court and got a nice place. Hy phoned the University and made contact and we had a date for 1 P.M. Went to town and got caught in the daily rain, mailed some postcards and picked up my glasses at the postoffice. Archie tried to buy some pants or a suit but didn't. After lunch at a drug store, we went to the University and met Dr. Reynolds B. Smith who took us down to meet Miss Lillian Arnold in charge of herbarium, and we stayed there and identified some of the things we were not sure about. We made a date to go wood hunting with all five of us the next day at 8 A.M. Left the University and had a good steak supper and retired early.

Friday, July 8: Arrived at the University on time and met all concerned and in addition Dr. W.B. Brush, who said he could go with us, and took photo of the group. We started out in both cars and went to a place where Hy cut a nice small Juniperus silicicola, and Archie climbed a tree and cut a log off a large limb of planera aquatica. It was a very hot day, but Miss Arnold had a jug of ice water with paper cups. We went in about noon to the cafeteria at the University which is a fine place, air-conditioned and good eating, also reasonably priced, where we had dinner. After dinner we took out again for a place called Devil's Millhopper being a sort of park area, where there was a big sink in the ground, and where several small streams made waterfalls running into this tremendous hole, and the water ran out of the hole to somewhere, no telling where. There was a lot of growth here, but nothing which we cut, although some discussion as to the various species of oaks. After leaving here we went out to the Forest Camp where the University maintains actual forestry conditions for training the students, including mess hall, and other houses, and where there is a deep lake. Archie and Dr. Smith went in swimming, as they were both so hot and full of sweat from helping cut a palm, Serenoa repens (some discussion about this name which we hope to get straightened out soon) and while cutting this palm met Professor Charles Geltz, Professor of Silviculture, who helped in a big way with getting these palms as had the big two-man cross cut saw to do the job. Prof. Geltz turned out to be the teacher of my friend Gene Marshall, Head of the Texas Forest Laboratory at Lufkin, Texas, when Gene attended Cornell. We returned to the University tired, hot and dirty; cleaned up at the auto court, had another steak supper same place, and Hy liked the girl well enough to see she got a dollar tip this time, because he thought she was a Republican. [Ed.: How thoughtful of Hy! :-) ] Went back to the auto court after all of us had another round of ice cream at a small place where we found was run by ex-railroad people, also Republicans.

Saturday, July 9: Early at 7 A.M., Milton Scott, from Miami drove in, as we had called him on the phone Thursday night, and we all went to breakfast. We met at the University as had been planned before, and all except Miss Arnold went on another wood hunt to a place called "Sugarfoot" on University owned land. Archie climbed a tree again to cut a large limb from a Tilia floridana which was not very good, then I found a small pole like tree which I cut and which turned out to be Viburnum corymbosum. A little later we cut another Tilia floridana which was a good one, then some Forestiera puberula and Cornus stricta. About noon we returned to College Cafeteria and had another good dinner, then started out again at another place near Gainesville, along a nice creek, and cut a nice Acer floridanum and Aesculus pavia. It was tough lugging these logs back to cars as had to climb steep hill and ford creek. After this we went out to Magnesium Springs where there is a fine swimming pool and went in swimming, all but Hy who stayed out and watched the cars. Went in and had another steak dinner but the Republican girl did not get our table, which was tough on Hy, then after dinner we went by the ex-railroad people's ice cream joint and all had more ice cream and coke. Talked wood a lot and finally went to bed after dividing a lot of the wood and packing cars. Archie sent a load back by freight from Gainesville, and also had Bill Pond ship a lot of his back by freight from Portsmouth.

Sunday, July 10: Up early and Milton Scott left for Miami and I left for Pt. Arthur. I cut a large wax myrtle 10 miles west of U.S. 90 out of Lake City, Florida. About noon it started raining and rained until I reached the Louisiana line, and I stopped for the night on north shore of Lake Ponchartrain and arrived home Monday a little before noon, after a total for my car of 4,336 miles and playing nursemaid to those 4 turtles for 1,986 miles, and while coming back thru Louisiana picked up another so arrived home with five of the reptiles. Used Monday and all of Tuesday in cutting the wood collected and labeling and putting up to dry. Archie, and Dentzman met the faculty of the University of Florida and made another collecting trip, which I assume he will add to this now.

Wood Collecting Trip
Additions by Archie F. Wilson

After bidding Milton Scott and Harold Nogle goodbye, Hy and I went to meet Miss Arnold and Dr. Smith. The trip planned was to the Ocala National Forest. Both Miss Arnold and Dr. Smith brough identification papers along with them which gave them permission to take specimens.

Here the terrain was entirely different, parched soil and scrub growth, but here we hit the jack-pot in desirable specimens. Among those cut were Persea humilis, Quercus laevis, Q. myrtifolia, Q. chapmani, Q. virgiana geminata, and Ceratiola ericoides. The latter was representation in a new family for us.

On the way back we stopped for a swim at another of those delightful spring-fed swimming pools. Then back to the cottage after bidding goodbye to our friends.

It was still mid-afternoon so we decided to make Tallahasee before dark. Arriving there in good time we called Bill Jacobs, Secretary of the Florida Forest and Park Association. He cam down to meet us and took us to his office. There we saw to our amazement a piece of Leitneria floridana fully 6" in diameter but nothing short of mayhem could get it away from him. He did give me a piece of Torreya taxifolia and one of the Eugenia confusa.

The next morning were were up bright and early and made Jackson, Tenn. by evening. The next day I dropped Hy off in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, where he had some business to attend to, and I headed for home and made it in time for dinner, tired but with a car trunk so full of specimens the springs were re-curved.