On Sunday afternoon the family along with family friend Alan Pugh, went for a hike to the "big tree". The tree is a huge loblolly pine purported to be the second largest in North Carolina, and is located in the woods behind Grays Chapel School in rural Randolph County. It has a special significance to me because my Dad, the former principal at the school used to take field trips with the kids and teachers down into the woods to see it, a source of great enjoyment for many children over the years. Estimated to be around 200 or so years old, the giant measures almost 4 feet in diameter at the base and is over 130 feet tall. It had been years since I had made the trek and the forest behind the school had been timbered. I found it difficult to find my way to the tree's site and was afraid we would be unable to find it. After a long hike we almost gave up on the hunt. We luckily ran into some neighbors on horseback who steered us in the right direction. The tree is on land neighbor Floyd Moore has acquired and we found that Mr. Moore has created a buffer around the tree and is protecting it. Apparently he is very proud to have the tree along with a grove of younger offspring on his land and is taking very good care of them all. He kindly allowed us to access the behemoth. I was glad to see that it is still standing, still healthy and apparently safe for years to come. I know my Dad would be happy.
Below is Mr. Moore at his tree.
(Photographs copyright 2011 by Dan Routh)