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On October 26th, the Polk County Middle School Hiking Club and I went to Norman Wilder Forest in Tryon, North Carolina. The forest is taken care of the Pacolet Area Conservancy, and was donated to them by the previous land owner. It was a vineyard, and the land owners used to sell grapes from it when the train would stop in town.

There are many trails, all color coded, in the forest, and we hiked along the green and red trails. We hiked to a drip waterfall, finding salamanders and a gilled snail. These snails are found in fresh, clean water. We also found a paw paw tree, which is a tree that produces fruits that taste a lot like bananas. Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on these types of trees.

While hiking we saw many trees with holes in the tree bark, made by a woodpecker called the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. They drill holes in the bark to eat the sap, and also eat insects that try to eat that sap as well. Ruby-throated male hummingbirds eat this sap in their spring migration times, since they migrate back before flowers start blooming. We also found a spicebush along the trail. Spicebushes smell like spices when you scratch their bark.

Overall, our trip was wonderful, and we learned many things along the way. I am very excited for our next trip, which will be to Little Bradley Falls.

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