Precious porn is soon a feeding frenzy of hungry wood frog tadpoles now summer finally reaches the high peaks and a green canopy closes over the forest floor summer flowers like milkweeds brighten the glades and attract all kinds of bugs and the.
Bugs attract birds with hungry chicks to feed bluebirds and purple martins the Cherokee used to hang hollow goods in their fields mess sites for the colonial Martin’s and in return the Martins would feed their chicks on insects that.
Would otherwise eat the Cherokee crops it’s a tradition that many people still carry on today so much so that purple martins here no longer use natural sights early summer is a tough time for parents of any size there comes our dependent on their mother’s milk for most of their first carefree summer life in the mountains is in.
Full swing makes you fly zone by late afternoon it’s hot enough to make well-fed Cubs drowsy it’s us the summer forests are just as magical by night new life is everywhere possums are marsupials and mothers carry their young hidden in a pouch but by early summer they’re just.
Too big and have to ride piggyback so far these young flying squirrels have spent their life safe in a hollow high above the forest floor but now the forest beckons the possums are also old enough to explore the forest on their own and leave their mother for good but they couldn’t be more of a contrast between the plodding possum and the agile squirrel even young flying squirrels move with sure-footed confidence and distance is no object a flap of skin between their.
Legs acts as a gliding membrane allowing them to glide up to 30 metres through the forest night but possums have to explore the hard way the sheer size of these forests is a standing and so is their diversity there are more kinds of trees in.
The southern Appalachians than.
In the whole of Europe well to.
Sun one tree is as good as the next yonas Cubs have grown quickly by mid-summer letters confident in the trees as they are on the forest.
Floor there are sheltered glades scattered throughout the forests where a young bear can warm himself in the Sun here the grass grows thicker and draws in white-tailed deer with their young forms some.
Of these glades were created by the Cherokee over the centuries they burned patches of forests to encourage the growth of grass which in turn attracted deer and made them easier to add but the animals that brought the Cherokee life would.
Soon bring death in the 18th century fur traders penetrated the mountains and drew the Cherokee into a suicidal trade now instead of hunting for their own needs there.
Were given guns tanned for the distant and insatiable European market in hides and furs the slaughter was unimaginable at the height of the fur trade in the middle of the.
Cherokee hunters sent five million deer skins to the coastal markets for export the unthinkable was happening the Cherokee had long ago been taught that they work in to all.
Life in the forest but now they were helping to exterminate their brothers and sisters and the settlers continued the slaughter the last wolf was finally silenced in the 1920s no one knows when the last mountain lion was killed or even if hopefully a few secretive individuals still hide in the endless forest as the Cherokee destroyed their own livelihood for trade they.
Became more and more dependent on European and later American goods their ancient culture was being eroded but only a few could see it like cr1 star the headman of the lower tones what are we read people.
The clothes we wear we cannot make ourselves they are made to us we use the ammunition with which we kill deer we cannot make our guns they are made.
To us every necessary thing in life we must have from the white people but increasing dependence was only part of their problem the Cherokees had always known the practical and spiritual dangers of indiscriminate hunting now it seemed as if that ancient Council of animals met one more time to carry out their threat to punish all who left the path of respect sending disease to devastate the tribe in 1738 smallpox carried by European traders swept through the Cherokee and half the nation.
Died the local plants held no cure for this new disease medicine men and women watched helplessly as 20,000 onion we’re died the slaughter of so many animals and the deaths of so many people changed Appalachia forever bison occurred in small numbers throughout the mountains but when so many people and other animals disappeared by some numbers increased.
They show just how delicate the balance of life really is in these forests more and more bison turned areas around water holes into vast seas of mud and hundreds of hooves trampled wide trails through the forests so impressive that later settlers often use these.
As their own trails and later still made them into roads but the Bison didn’t last long a tide of new people settlers and farmers would soon sweep down through the mountains and the Bison would join the wolf and the mountain lion change is nothing new to these ancient mountains they’ve seen ice.
Ages come and go they’ve seen continents glide over the face of the globe and during that time far greater forces than humanity have shaped these mountains including the greatest of all water summer brings heavy storms remnants of Atlantic.
Or Gulf of Mexico hurricanes dump enormous quantities.
Of rain on the mountains up to ten inches in a single day some parts of the southern Appalachians are amongst the wettest places on the continent the forest chair really our temperate rainforests rain feeds streams which.
In turn feed rivers and these have slowly worn away the rocks and eroded the parallel valleys so characteristic of these mountains the landscape of the Blue Ridge carved by ever-present.
Water rivers and streams are everywhere in Cherokee country and according to Cherokee legend the deeper pools hide monsters the giant snake-like creature they call octonaut and.
There really are monsters here the hellgrammite a giant insect lava it reaches ten centimeters in length its body lined with pulsating filaments gills to extract oxygen from the water and at its tail sturdy grappling hooks stop it being washed away in the.
Powerful current an even bigger monster the hellbender a giant salamander that can reach half a meter in length yet this monstrous salamander has even bigger relatives in China and Japan with its nearest relatives living on another continent hellbenders are a reflection of the ancient history of these mountains recalling a time when Asia and America were all part of a single continent and it’s not just hellbenders that echo the days of Pangaea in high summer the hills are covered in rhododendrons more usually associated with the mountains of Asia but this the Catawba rhododendron is uniquely.
Appalachian found nowhere else a relic of the deep history of their mountain home but a new chapter in that quarter of a billion year history was now beginning by 1790 80,000 settlers vastly outnumbered the remaining Cherokee there just won their independence from the British crown and a new nation had a manifest destiny that would drive them ever westwards and Appalachia witnessed the final.
Meeting between two very different cultures summed up wills poignant accuracy at the end of the 18th century by a Cherokee leader called corn tassel the Creator has given East their lands he.
Has stocked yours with cows ours was Buffalo yours with hogs ours with bear yours with Sheep ours with deer he has indeed given you an advantage in this that your cattle or Tama domesticated while ours are wild and demand not only a large space for a range but our to hunt and.
Kill them it was clear that these two worldviews could not exist side-by-side and the Cherokee had made a big political mistake some had fought with the British in the war of independence and the retribution of the Americans will be absolute as the North.
Carolina delegation to the Continental Congress put it their mission was to extinguish the very race of them and scarce to leave enough of their existence to be a vestige in proof that.
1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act to force the relocation of Eastern Indians to Oklahoma.
West of the Mississippi and in the depths of the brutal winter of 1838 the Cherokee were rounded up and marched out of their forest home it was done in the wintertime to lower the possibility of resistance because they took away the food they took away all the warmth all the clothing the removal which took six.
Months from here to Oklahoma we lost about I guess about a quarter.
Entire population on their removal and that’s why it’s called zouna zohelin is literally where they cried today it’s called the Trail of Tears but a few Cherokee escaped into the mountains whether were protected.
By the vastness of the forest but soon the forests themselves would be under threat they held a valuable resource for an expanding nation timber we’re gonna build me one Kevin run a mountain so so I can’t see you Willie as he go by the.
Mid-1880s the mountain wilderness had been penetrated by railroads and.
A means to transport timber to build the cities of America and these once isolated ancient forests lovers were amazed by the sheer size of the.
Trees they found in the forty.
Year timber boom that followed great areas of the forest were laid waste but it gradually became clear that in the face of a logging frenzy by profiteering lumber companies these forests were far from endless yet the growing environmental disaster at the end of the 19th century provoked a response and the southern Appalachians became the birthplace of forestry in the.
New World vast tracts of devastated land were bought up by the newly.
Formed Forest Service land that would eventually become the National Forest much of this was driven by the vision of one man gifford pinchot the first of the practical conservationists he saw that conservation is a foresighted utilization preservation and/or renewal of forests waters lands and minerals for the greatest good.
Of the greatest number of people for the longest time yet in a sense he was only restating how the cherokee lived in these mountains they needed the.
Forests for their survival so it made sense to use them with care they long ago realized that they didn’t inherit the mountains from their ancestors they borrowed them from their children over the last hundred years much of the devastated forest has grown back though not yet in the majesty of the old-growth but most of the natural cycles here are still intact and as fall marks the start of another Cherokee year the forest still offers its bounty.
To all who live here the harvest of nuts falls from the canopy acorns from the dozen different kinds of oak walnuts hickory nuts in a good year half a ton of Akon’s alone can fall on each hectare of forest floor gray squirrels are busy now hoarding.
As much as they can they know that winter is just around the corner late autumn mists sweep down from the.
Peaks a reminder that the good times are almost over the bear cubs are almost unrecognizable now they’re huge fueled by the autumn abundance they can put on more than three kilos a.
Day they’re programmed to keep eating in preparation for winter their physiology has changed and they always feel hungry no matter how much they eat soon they’ll follow their mother to her shelter den until spring once again wakes the forest Yona.
Is still part of these endless cycles and to greet her next spring there are still Cherokees here too in the forest that gave birth to their culture descendants of those that hid from the soldiers now people like Eddy bushy head are working hard to see the.
Cherokee language and culture will remain as vital a part of Appalachia as bears or trees the mounds are never ugly everything is the way that the Creator wanted it to be.
The mounds you’re able to see that it manifests itself these mountains have been viewed for longer than any human mind can grasp the last century of the history has shown that nature is resilient it will always triumph in the long term but it’s in the short timescale of humanity that we need to.
Safeguard the future of these forests for our own sakes and for our own spirits the Rosie love Spyder Oh my it’s 200 million years ago when Africa collided with North America a time.
When all the continents were fusing into.
A single supercontinent called Pangea but this mountain chain is.
Not just ancient it’s also vast it stretches from Georgia and Alabama in the south to Newfoundland in the north.