I have spent the best part of the last two weeks with a few co-workers identifying hazard trees in campgrounds. We have looked at hundreds of trees and have found signs of disease while wandering through the woods dodging devil’s club and downed giants – climbing over, around, and through the sometimes tangled understory.
While wandering about it is quite interesting to not just look at the trees, since that is what we are doing to look for problems, but to touch and be up close and personal with them. A few Douglas Fir trees that we looked at were massive – over six feet around the trunk and one was nearly 300 feet tall. Think about that for a moment…THREE HUNDRED FEET! That is one big tree. And those are not even as big as the some of the redwoods or giant sequoia.
It makes me think about what the views are from the top of that majestic tree. That has to be incredible. I know that there are people who climb to the top of the redwoods for research and that has to be an amazing thing to do. There are canopy tour companies and I may just have to find one in California and give that a try. (I have another tree-based adventure I am planning on doing this summer. I will post on that only when I actually get to do it.)
It also makes me think about the things these trees have seen in their lifetimes and the challenges they overcame (and keep having to struggle through thanks to humans) to become that big and live that long. They have not been around nearly as long as the bristlecone pines we saw in Colorado, but the bristlecones we saw were nowhere the size of these trees.
It’s just like looking at the stars on a dark summer’s night; it really kind of puts you in your place in the grand scheme of things. We humans are pretty small and insignificant comparatively speaking, yet we can have such devastating effects.
Go out in the woods and take the time to really look around you. It’s pretty amazing what you can find if you just slow down to look, listen, smell, and sometimes even taste.
Perhaps it will awaken something in you as well.