This afternoon a group of thirty of so weaved along the unmarked trails in the Oakham Wildlife Management Area in search of some of the oldest trees in New England. Black Gum or Tupelo over 400 years old. Ones that sprouted before Columbus set sail!
And it was quite an adventure. First along the trails, stopping periodically to talk about other trees and shrubs growing along the way, including white, red, black and scarlet oaks and how you can tell the difference using their leaves. Witch hazel flowers are out and some partridge berry fruits could be found under the leaf litter.
Then we headed into the swamp, with warnings about wet boots and hopping from one hummock to another. Everyone made it to the pocket of tupelo trees, growing with hemlocks and red maples. The tupelos top the canopy and have a unique branching pattern so they are easy to spot once you know what to look for.
Many participants are looking forward to making a return trip to admire these old trees another time.