[Note: Jake and I made this trip back on 11 November 2013. I wrote this up but never posted it to the blog until 30 December 2013]
Jake and I paid a visit to the Sugarloaf Mountain Natural Area today. Like many of the natural features of the area it played an important role in the Civil War. The mountain is a small mountain that is isolated and to the east of the Appalachian Mountain chain. It rises only 800 feet above the surrounding area but that is enough to make for an excellent lookout (the photo above is looking east towards Washington and Baltimore). On 5 September 1862 the small unit of Union soldiers station there as a lookout spotted Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia crossing the Potomac River to the southwest.
While that is all very interesting, Jake and I, being astute biologist noted that it was a sunny day and leaving the hotel for a few hours was probably in the best interest of our mental health. I looked at a map, noticed a large green patch that was less than half an hour away and then we were off!
When we got there we noticed that not much was green. Falling back on our advanced degrees we determined that the primary reason nothing was green was the fact it was now early winter and most trees drop their leaves and are simply not green. However, we did discover that a few trees were in fact still green! Jake pulled out his handy Sibley Guide to the Trees of North America and we figured out that they were in fact conifers, of which we found 8 species. Check out photos of our day here.