Appalachia Hiking History

Our Recent Hike


On a long hike over the weekend we saw the least mushrooms growing on a laurel branch.

Ivy blooms on mountainside

Most of our hike was under a canopy of Ivy blooms and as usual their pale pink beauty was stunning.

Since I wrote about Laurel Hells last week, The Deer Hunter made sure to take us straight up the mountain through a giant one 🙂 I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the top, but once we did what we found made me forget about the the hot, scratchy, climb.

tree with bear scratches on it

red sarvis berry

The first photo with the red arrows shows where a bear climbed a tree. The second photo shows what the bear was after—sarvis berries.

I believe the noise of us climbing chased the bear off before it could finish its tasty treat. Don’t worry I didn’t let any of the berries go to waste I ate them.

piece of barbed wire


Just before the obstacle course of Ivy we found a tree with barbed-wire growing in it. The wire was a good eight inches in the trunk of the tree. In other words its from a long long time ago.


This is one of three terrapins we saw along the way.

wild huckleberries

The Deer Hunter said Pap told him about a giant berry patch, but he’d never known exactly where it was. Well we found it and it was the most amazing huckleberry patch I’ve ever seen. Looking at the nice open berry laden area on top of the high ridge made me forget about fighting my way through a laurel hell to get there.

Here’s a short video I made on the hike that offers a better view of the huckleberry patch.


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  • Reply
    May 28, 2020 at 9:57 am

    Family fun. I enjoy the video very much. Hope you watched for snakes. I went to see and pray with my middle brother because he had a stroke and on our way, a big copperhead went across the road. My husband backed up to try and run over it but it got away.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    May 27, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Up here in Michigan, they call ’em “serviceberries.” We have two trees we’ve babied since they were just saplings. They put on quite a show with their flowers this year. We planted them for the birds. Now, you’re telling me, they’re good to eat for humans? Oh, foot! That means I’m going to have to give ’em a try. I still won’t fight Cedar Waxwings or Scarlet Tanagers for them, but I might fight a jay or two! ;->

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 27, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Now that’s a wonderful family outing and it seems that your family has grown by two handsome boyfriends! I’m pleased to see that. They are such good boys!
    It has been a while since I had a walk in the woods, however I do walk for exercise on a very isolated road. I am thrilled with the trees and the creeks. I find the song of the creek to be very calming and there are several creeks where I walk. The song of the creek seems to sooth my soul!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Just a fascinating read today. I once took those little excursions with my parents and later siblings and friends. One favorite hike was to an old cemetery on an old logging road. One such hike was spent looking for ginseng, and I actually was able to eat one of those. There is just something so special to me about spotting an old road or route that one can still make out in an isolated location. Your junction or coming to a crossroads in the mountains was really interesting. I have seen many of these, and my mind just had to ramble and wonder what old horses or old wagons once used these. I often hear the expression when touring an old house, “If walls could talk?” That is what I wonder about these old trails. Thanks for taking us along. Enjoyed!

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 27, 2020 at 11:20 am

    wow tipper..such interesting ti y mushrooms…i love them… like an altered art project..wouldnt they be pretty in pastel colors…thanks for the hike…i miss being able to walk and see nature.
    stay well dear tipper and family..those girls are adorable

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    May 27, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Thank you for taking me on such a great hike. I can’t to get home to the Hocking Hills! Until then, I’ll walk my woods, here, and live vicariously through you!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 27, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Did you take any ivy home with you? No, not the bush itself, those sticky blooms. I can never be around ivy without finding at least a few stuck to my clothes when I get home.

    • Reply
      May 27, 2020 at 10:59 am

      Ed-I used to stick them to the girls ears and let them pretend they had their ear’s pierced 🙂

  • Reply
    May 27, 2020 at 10:11 am

    That video was so nice to watch….those Ivy blooms are beautiful, and I enjoyed feeling a bit like I was coming along with ya… I like eating berries of all sorts.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    May 27, 2020 at 10:04 am

    It sounds so amazing and the photos are spectacular! I’m left speechless and in awe! THANKYOU so very much! I much enjoyed it! I know those huckleberries are destined for jelly and freezing….

  • Reply
    Darrell K Cook
    May 27, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Thanks Tipper,
    I enjoyed the photographs and the video.

    Darrell Cook

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 27, 2020 at 8:47 am

    You remind me of what I dislike most about this place. I can’t go walk in the woods straight from the house. You all are blessed to be able to. We have lived here a long time and I have missed that the entire time and if I do not move I will miss it as long as I live. It is earthbound thinking I know but I sure hope heaven includes walks in the woods.

    This seems to be an extra good blueberry year. Our little short row is covered, more than we have ever had I think.

    I have a sarvis tree to but this year I discovered that what I call ‘sucking bugs’ were on it. they are a very dark bug with a white stripe on their backs. Later on many of the sarvic fruits were all swelled up and have a ginger-colored fungus or something growing out of them now. I think the sucking bugs carry it, whatever it is. Those bugs get on my tomatoes later and just keep building up all summer.

    Those laurel (ivy) bloom have the stamens bent back and tucked into those little pockets in the bloom. They are ‘cocked’ and if you touch them with a pencil or something similar they snap forward. If the trigger were a pollinator, it would be dusted with pollen. I have two mountain laurel I planted and I have buried some twig ends to try to get them to layer so I can transplant. Unlike cuttings, they will be sure to live whether they root or not.

    With bears in the backyard you may have to compete for the blueberries.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2020 at 8:42 am

    I so enjoyed going on the hike through your video – especially seeing that little creek and hearing the water rushing through. I remember my parents talking about huckleberries but don’t remember them saying “Sarvis berries.” I googled the name and “Eat the Weeds” had this on their site: Besides Juneberry and Serviceberry the plant is also called Sarvis and Sarvis Tree. “Service” and “Sarvis” have the same origin in the written word “service.” Why “service?” The tree was called that be cause in Appalachia it was the only tree blossoming when it came time to bury in the thawed ground of spring those who had died in the winter. Farther north along the coast it was called Shadbush, Shadblow, Shadwood because it blossomed when the shad (migrating fish) were running. Other names include Saskatoon (a shortened Cree name) Sugarplum, and Wild-plum. It was called Juneberry because in many places the fruit ripens in June, usually the first of the new year for those weary of winter fare. The European species honors Jean Baptiste Antoine Monet de Lamarck, an 18th century French naturalist.

    Seems like I am more aware of what is in the woods now than when I was younger. lol I never thought about deer ticks but I do now. Seems like I was always warned of chiggers and snakes. Long pants would help and a pistol on your hip for any sneaky snake.

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    May 27, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Beautiful photography. I love hiking here although I do not go far from the house. We are blessed during this ” stay home order” to be able to go freely into such beautiful mountains.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 27, 2020 at 7:26 am

    That is the prettiest huckleberry patch I’ve ever seen. Be careful if you go back to pick them when they are ripe. Mr. sneaky snake likes to hide in those places to catch birds and other critters that feed on the berries.
    I hope to make it to the ole family farm this weekend and check on a couple of sarvis trees. They aren’t as big as the one in your picture but more than big enough to produce berries.
    Of course all these berry pictures got me to remembering what Dad done to me when I was a boy. I had picked a few mountain tea berries and was asking him what they were. He had me to pick a few more and ate them all and laughed before telling me they were mountain teaberries. BTW, they do taste like teaberry gum. A good memory to start the day.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2020 at 5:36 am

    We have two sarvis berry trees my wife planted shortly after we moved to our new house, we call it our new house altho we’ve been here for 16yrs, but the trees bore very well this year, I’m picking the last of the berries now, we eat them as fast as we pick’em. I’d be sure to carry my two friends Smith & Wesson on a hike just in case.

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