This month, I got to spend a day hiking through some incredible stands of old-growth white pine in Cook Forest State Park. This is without a doubt the finest forest in the Midwest.
The largest trees range from 250-450 years old and are upwards of 200 feet tall. These are the tallest trees in the Midwest.
Even their root balls are enormous. Below are pictures of my sister, dad, and I posing with root balls for scale.
We saw some Indian pipe growing in the shade of the trees.
Indian pipe lack chlorophyll and are parasitic, getting their nutrients through mycorrhizal fungi.
There was an incredible diversity of mushroom species that grew on or under the trees.
I’m not up-to-date on my PA mushroom species, so if you know what any of them are, then please let me know.
We heard chickadees, a common raven, and hermit thrushes calling to each other like ghostly piccolos from high in the canopy.
Hermit thrushes have one of the most beautiful songs in America. You can check out hermit thrush song below.
Their song is actually structured similarly to human music.
We also took turns posing next to one of the tallest white pines we saw.
All-in-all, it was an incredible day!