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  1. #1
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Default AT Natural History Trivia -- That every hiker should know

    Just for fun I thought I'd start a list of AT Natural History trivia-- most of it true. Please add to my list as you see fit.


    1. The large (about 10" x 4") oval holes you see in tress were the work of a Pileated Woodpecker.

    2. The brightest celestial object in the nigh sky after the moon is Venus

    3. Rhododendron leaves curl up tight at about 25*

    4. The piles of macaroni-shaped scat you see near piles of rocks were left by porcupines

    5. A telephoto lens is not required to take a close up picture of a Spruce Grouse

    6. The Eastern Box Turtle you see on the AT could be 30 years+ years old

    7. The amazing white-throated sparrow song really does sound like "Old-Sam-Peabody-Peabody"

    8. Beavers mate for life

    9. Its a Parliament of Owls but a murder of Crows

    10. Americas first gold rush was in Georgia near the start/end of the AT

  2. #2
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Very cool!
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  3. #3

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    Yes, pretty cool. You said "most" of it is true. How about Virginia is flat.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

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    Yes very cool topic rick...

    8. beavers mate for life, and are one of the only animals to change there environment to suit their needs.

    10. Dalonnega gold rush, started the ball rolling for a mass exitus of Cherokee Indians in that area to the "Trail of Tears" in attempt to move them off their native lands so the gold could be exploited. lots of good reading on this subject.

    3. Rhododendrons leaves curl at 25 degrees...did not know this...Cool.

  5. #5
    Registered User moytoy's Avatar
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    The original trail up Shuckstack from Fontana was not graded. It basically went straight up the mountain. It wasn't graded until the 60's. I came down shuckstack in 1960.
    I hope others chime in on this thread. It could be interesting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    1. The large (about 10" x 4") oval holes you see in tress were the work of a Pileated Woodpecker.
    Here's one that hangs out in my yard. Video is shaky, I was trying to sneak around him.

    Gives me a headache to see/hear how hard he bangs his head.

    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

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    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Crickets can actually be helpful in determining how cold it is .
    Listen closely and count the number of chirps heard in 14 seconds, adding 40 degrees to that number to get actual air tempature

    Crickets stop chirping at 55 degrees fahrenheit . Apparently , the slower the rate of chirps, the cooler the temperature.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  8. #8
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Some more...

    13. If you think you smell a skunk, it could well be fox urine.

    14. On the AT, true north is a bit to the right of magnetic north. Just the opposite on the PCT. I think life is easier in Iowa or there abouts. Really.

    15. The North Star can be easily found if you see the Big Dipper. Just "draw" a line from the star marking the bottom outside edge of the bowl up to the star marking the top outside edge of the bowl. Extend that line 5 times, and you have Polaris.

    16. The northern lights are visible from the AT but are often obscured by tree cover. Oh well.

    17 Northbounders get to enjoy their colorful spring warblers. Southbounders' are drab and dull.

    18. Southbounders are very well positioned for the fall raptor migration. On a good day "semi pro" observers might count 1000 birds or more on Hawk Mountain (which is down a blue blaze). Good spot to learn about a different kind of Kettle and borrow some binoculars.

    19. Deers eyes shine a greenish white at night, and bears shine yellow-red. Or is that the other way around? Hell if I know.

    20. If all plants had as descriptive a name as Scouring Rush (AKA Horsetail -- which is a really cool plant when you consider how little its changed over the Millenium) they would be much easier to remember. Trout Lilly is another good one.

    Anyone else with some trivia? Please, I need help.

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    How many battle sites, any war, can one pass through on a thru? I do not know yet.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tractor View Post
    How many battle sites, any war, can one pass through on a thru? I do not know yet.
    The Battle of South Mountain took place on the Crampton, Turner and Fox Gaps of Maryland. Two future Presidents, Hayes and McKinley, were participants in the battle.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  11. #11
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Battle of Manassas Gap
    Battle of Front Royal
    Battle of Harpers Ferry
    Battle of Antietam Creek

    There were numerous civil war battles in western Va. within a days walk of the AT.

    Great thread rick, and a great topic tractor
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

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    Skirmishes in Hot Springs and nasty militia actions in and around the Shelton Laurel area near Jerry Cabin.

    A WWI POW camp for Germans was located in Hot Springs.

  13. #13
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tractor View Post
    How many battle sites, any war, can one pass through on a thru? I do not know yet.
    I'm currently reading "Walkin' with the Ghost Whisperers" by JR "Model T" Tate, it is a chronicle of the history and legend of the area surrounding the A.T. and includes many stories about the battles in the vicinity of the trail. I'm only about 1/5th of the way through it and it has been a fascinating book so far.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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    Most of it true? There's nothing in that list that I "should" know or even need to know.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

  15. #15

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    Good Stuff

  16. #16
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredmugs View Post
    Most of it true? There's nothing in that list that I "should" know or even need to know.
    I can't disagree with that. In the end, everyone finds what works for himself self what works and adds dimension to their hikes and life.

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    3. Rhododendron leaves curl up tight at about 25*

    Assuming it's not happening from something else YES this happens because rhodies, and other members in the Azalea family, are reducing moisture loss through the leaves when it's cold. Quite a few plant species can curl their leaves during winter to reduce moisture loss but rhodies do it quite significantly. Some plants including rhodies can have issues with dessication during winter months which is why I 'll sometimes spray plants with an anti-dessicant during winter that are highly exposed. The leaves cup and curl tighter and tighter as the temps get lower and lower giving the plant a different textural appearance based on how cold it is. By looking out my window at the rhodies in winter I can tell how cold it is by how tightly curled and cupped the rhodie leaves are BUT since I've been in Hawaii during winter lately........

    Here's a nice snapshot: http://www.salemnews.com/lifestyle/x...o-curl-tightly

    8. Beavers mate for life

    Several animal species do this probably most recognized is the Bald Eagle which typically does this. Hey, when you find someone good they are worth holding onto.

  18. #18

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    You can tell when the moon is full because it rises at the same time that the sun sets.
    And it rises aprox one hour later every night.

    If you are going to nighthike (not all night but a few hours into the night), half moon is your best time as it's at the top of the sky at dusk. (sunset)

    Another little hint is that you can tell the aprox sunset by holding your fist at arm's length and sighting the distance between the sun and the horizon.
    One fist is one hour's time before sunset.

    Here at the beach, I can even get it down to a pretty accurate 15 minutes (1/4 fist).
    Of course on the AT, the horizon is not as pronounced as the sea. But as a general rule, without a watch, this a pretty accurate way of telling how many miles you can go before dark. (I'm one who eats dinner and then hikes a few more miles as I prefer that time of day.)
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    1. The large (about 10" x 4") oval holes you see in tress were the work of a Pileated Woodpecker.

    These are large woodpeckers that the Woody the Woodpecker cartoon was based upon. There's an area on the Pinhoti Trail where the forest is largely managed specifically for the conservation of these birds. To me, when Pileated Woodpeckers are tapping away at a tree of all the woodpeckers species I've had the pleasure of viewing they sound like they are LOUDLY knocking on a wooden door.

    7. The amazing white-throated sparrow song really does sound like "Old-Sam-Peabody-Peabody


    Try the second recording for this little bird. You'll get more of the Old-Sam Peabody idea.

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/W...Sparrow/sounds

    In the U.S. the common male Brown Headed Cowbird reminds me of R2D2.

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/B...Cowbird/sounds

    And, who can forget the sounds of the Eastern Whip-poor -will

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/W...or-will/sounds

    This is a great site for bird watchers.... and listeners.

  20. #20
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    Fiddlehead that was enlightening info. Didn't know that stuff.

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