Not To Worry LbNA # 10910
|Placed Date||Sep 12 2004|
|Last Found||Jun 1 2012|
This letterbox is located by the Wasilik Poplar - the second largest poplar tree in the whole entire United States. It used to be considered the first largest poplar tree until they found one bigger in Virginia. Isn't that just like Virginia? Always hogging the limelight? But the Wasilik Poplar is still one big honking example of Liriodendron tulipifera.
To find the big tree and the adjacent letterbox drive west from Franklin, NC on US 64 about 9-10 miles through Winding Stair Gap and turn left on W Old Murphy Rd. Don't take the first turn for W. Old Murphy Rd. out of Franklin (about 4-5 miles W. of town) but look for the National Forest signs for Standing Indian Campground. Pass by the Rainbow Springs Campground and turn right after ~2 miles onto FS Rd. #67 at the sign for the Standing Indian Campground. Another 1/2 mile down this road you will find a small parking area labeled "Rock Gap." Park here.
As you look at the faded sign post you'll see that the Appalachian Trail runs right by here. Georgia is to your right, Maine is to your left, and the Wasilik Poplar is straight ahead. Follow the trail to the tree. It's about 2/3 mile in length, well marked and maintained, and just about all downhill. Coming back it's all uphill but that's not my problem.
The Wasilik Poplar is neither a young nor a healthy tree. Some arborists claim that in the right light they can see a living branch or two 100 feet up. What I saw was more like a really, really big stump (27+ feet in circumference.) Stand with your back to the mighty tree facing an upturned rock that looks like it once held a commemorative plaque. Proceed left of the plaque rock (at about 130 degrees) to the low split rail fence that rings the tree. Lean over the fence and look for the camo cozied letterbox under a small cairn up against a fence post.
As always, caution (when poking your hand into dark, tight places) and discretion (when others are about) are virtues.
This letterbox was placed to celebrate the 8th in a series of occasional "hang outs" of the South Eastern Hammock Hangers Association, hosted by Ed "Not to Worry" Speer, two time AT Thru Hiker and author of "Hammock Camping: The Complete Guide To Greater Comfort, Convenience and Freedom." The Wasilik Poplar proved to be too much of a tree for my humble hammock.