Monday, November 22, 2010

A Trip to the Pocosin

Pocosins are densely vegetated, unspoiled forests. Derived from the Algonquin word for swamp on a hill, pocosins can be found along the southern Atlantic Coastal Plain. Perhaps their most important value is that of providing habitats for endangered species and species adapted to living in untouched areas. See

I had the opportunity to the Pike County Pocosin this afternoon. It is a 190 acre nature preserve tract with the Forever Wild Program.

Image taken from

I have a pretty vivid imagination. Combined with tales of legend, you can picture how my imagination can get carried away. Prior to the visit, I pictured exceptionally neat walking trails dotted with exotic floral species and small wildlife a safe distance away. Sounds fantastic (and a bit naive) right. What I actually got was a two-hour hike downhill through brush and bramble, dotted with Carolina Jessamine (if you don't remember these from a previous posting, they're the super poisonous vines I tossed from my garden). Let me interject that I had a fun, learning experience. But there were some really scary moments for a city girl like me.

Upon arrival, we came across a dead doe and her baby, entrails hanging out. For a second, I thought I was in an Alan Jacobson novel. Both had been mutilated for their tenderloins. Apparently it's the filet mignon of deer. Then as we read the warning postings, my group learned that hunting was allowed on the grounds. None of us were wearing orange. The leaders of our group however surmised that because it was the middle of the day, the game would not be out frolicking. And the hunters would likely wait for the full moon tonight which would draw the deer out. Not exactly scientific, but made enough sense for us to continue. Just in case, we made a racket along the way, which included shouting 'I'm not a deer!'.

Just as I had relaxed about entering a hunting zone improperly dressed, one member of our team remarked that she wished she'd brought a pistol to shoot snakes. Great. Eyes peeled on the ground for mocassins and ears tuned for rattlers, I did manage to see several springs (my first), a creek bed, dozens of oak varieties, tulip trees, wild blackberry, nandina, the original holly tree, reindeer moss, peat moss, prickly pear, a squirrel nest, an armadillo hole, snake holes, and deer tracks. It was stunning. If I were more of a country girl, this would be the ideal place for some quiet time, but the forest noises kept me somewhat on edge. Case in point, the cow somewhere in the distance mooing that I would have sworn was an ATV backfiring. (I'm still trying to figure out what the heck a cow was doing in the middle of a pocosin. Either that was one lost cow, or we were near to pastureland that backed up to the forest.)

After a few hours we made it out safely. Although my group probably believes otherwise, I am really grateful for the experience and did enjoy it. Will I do it again? I don't know. I'd have to be wearing an orange vest and knee-high goloshes, armed with a machete and a pistol.

1 comment:

  1. Tears. Literally tears are streaming down my face from laughing so hard! That was wonderful! It was so entertaining that I had to share it with Hubby who laughed just as hard.