Untouched for Centuries: A Virgin Spruce Forest

There is a virgin spruce forest in Randolph County, West Virginia, which I have baptized “The Magical Forest.”
It’s almost difficult to believe the fortunate coincidence that left a piece of forest untouched for centuries. But this is what the sign said:

Virgin Timber sign

I am wondering whether this “error” was truly an error of omission or whether somebody a hundred years ago decided to “forget” about this patch of land to allow these spruce trees to continue to stretch towards heaven.

Dwarfed by a giant spruce tree

Dwarfed by a giant spruce tree

The pictures in this post were taken during two separate visits, one in early November (with more green and autumn colors) and a second one in late December 2013 (including snow and icicles).

I was particularly drawn to the many tree trunks, limbs, and rocks covered with soft, saturated, rich green moss.

trees growing on and over rocks

rocks, roots and moss

And a fallen giant of a tree covered with an emerald crown of moss:

the fallen giant

Because the forest has been left untouched as a living experiment, fallen trees have not been removed. Giant rootballs, blackened by age, become part of the landscape for many decades:

rocks held in rootball

In the right light, this one could appear as a threatening monster:

rootball monster

And the holes and openings between the entangled roots form perfect frames and vantage points:

looking thru roots

looking through rootball eyes

looking through the roots

Baby trees take a foot hold anywhere they can and begin to form their own generation. Maybe we’ll call them the Millenial Spruce Generation?

the younger spruce generation

Here is a more detailed look at some spruce branches with their tightly clustered, short needles:

snow on spruce branch

waterdrops on spruce branch

In late fall, green ferns, mushrooms, lichens and colorful leaves enlivened the forest:

In winter, icicles and ice crystals served as decorations:

The never-ending dance of life was beautifully expressed here: from the baby trees to the tallest straight-as-an-arrow spruce great-grandfathers to the fallen giants slowly melting back into the soil that feeds all the living things in this magical forest. I, too, felt nourished by the forest and promised to come back, again and again.

mossy limb

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
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50 Responses to Untouched for Centuries: A Virgin Spruce Forest

  1. anise says:

    Photos make it all so magical. I wonder what spring would look like, new trees, flowers, birds etc.


  2. Loca Gringa says:

    Beautiful fotos! What a slice of heaven …


  3. glendanp says:

    Reblogged this on Yarn Around My World and commented:
    Our forests are so important and here is a beautiful post about virgin forests.


  4. Enchanted! Lovely photos and post!


  5. lollastewart says:

    I would so love to see this place Annette. I get similar feelings of belonging and self- eradication when inside caves. Every good wish for you and yours for 2014. Will write more when settled back in my own space . Your pix are brilliant. Lolla

    Sent from my iPhone



  6. It is the plants that transcend our own time horizon that help us understand our very small place in the universe.


  7. Baptizing a forest, I love that, it has some magic within.


  8. jamborobyn says:

    It is indeed magical, beautiful photos, amazing place.


  9. These photos are breathtakingly beautiful. Made me wish we could stroll under those trees together.


  10. What a beautiful forest, Annette. I love the mosses and the fungi and the tall, tall trees, sweeping the sky. And the icicles are a nice touch too. I’m glad you captured it at different times of year so we can see the transformation. πŸ™‚


  11. Kristin says:

    Happy New Year Annette!

    I’ve enjoyed getting to know you–though our friendship is virtual. From your photography to your comments on my blog, your warm nature and good attitude is apparent. I look forward to more of your visionary pictures and words.


    • Kristin – what lovely words, thank you. I feel we are kindred spirits in the way we look at life. Too bad we live on opposite sides of the continent. I too have enjoyed ‘meeting’ you and sharing part of your world. May the new year smile radiantly on you and your family.


  12. Magical indeed! I love the way you captured the different shades of green and the DOP in your photos. Thank you for sharing them with us πŸ™‚ And thank you for your encouragements!



  13. Tina Schell says:

    Beautifully presented Annette! Love the ancient forests, so rich and still. Have a wonderful new year!


  14. Magnificent! What a beautiful tribute to the virgin “error”. I love the contrast between the summer and winter photos. I’d “like” this post, but for some reason my “like” button won’t load, so I’ll just say, I LOVE this post.


  15. Magical Forest. I like that! We have a section of forest in town that I like to visit that feels magical. Though it isn’t untouched, it has never been settled by whites though it is possible native Americans had lived here given the abundant resources in the forest and the river that runs through it has an Abenaki name. The little bog areas between the glacial eskers always make me think of The Hobbit. πŸ™‚ Thanks for a beautiful post!


  16. When I enter Dreamland and become a Sprite I now know where I’m going to travel next. WOWzer πŸ™‚


  17. Such beautiful and peaceful images, Annette. πŸ™‚


  18. tree girl says:

    This is indeed a magickal forest. I can imagine the pixies and fae playing happily here.


  19. Aren’t these just wonderful spaces. MM πŸ€


  20. What a wonderful post, and I’m not sure why I missed it….so many peoples posts seem to be absent from my reader…
    You seem to see the forest and the woods in such a similar way to me, the whole overarching cycles of growth and decay. What a wonderful accidental gift that these woods were spared logging….we lost so much of the ancient Caledonian Forest in Scotland the same way.


    • I thought you might enjoy this one, Seonaid. When I saw your Oak Kings & Dragons today, I saw the similarities – but that isn’t the first time. Remember our twin waterfall posts?
      There is so little old growth forest left anywhere, it is a treasure to come across them. I am hoping to re-visit the redwood forest in Calif. this year; there are the true long-lived giants!


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