The mountains of Ashe County, in North Carolina's northwest corner, support an antediluvian mixed hardwood forest, rooted in nutrient-rich soil and watered by 40 to 60 inches of annual rainfall. From the highest peaks--approaching a mile above sea level--to the lowest valleys, through which flows one of the most ancient river systems in the world, trees carpet much of the county's 406 square miles. Species with nicknames like wahoo, goosefoot, ironwood, shadblow, bom-a-gilly and buckeye thrive. Others, dominant in the region for millennia, have all but disappeared in recent years. The author describes in detail their anatomy and ecology, and discusses maple syrup production, the local nursery business and the lore and deep value of heritage apple trees; 165 photographs are included.