On July 14, 2012 composer and NTS member Michael Gatonska joined me to hike to the Thoreau Tree with the goal of making arboreal recordings in the area of Dunbar Brook/northern Berkshires. With high humidity and temperatures predicted to be in the low 90's f. we had our work cut out for us. As many NTS know Michael has been recording wind sounds associated with various tree species. Our hope was to ascend the emergent Thoreau Tree and pick up some wind above the deciduous forest canopy. As it turned out what little wind there was died by the time we were in position to record. I think the trip was not wasted, Michael continues to improve his climbing skills and showed great determination in hot conditions to make a 100' ascent to reach the lower crown of the tree. Those who've visited the tree know it is no slouch, Thoreau has the magnitude of a PNW conifer. I'm surprised again each time I have the privilege to visit this very impressive white pine.
Instead of wind we enjoyed a chorus of bird calls emanating from the Dunbar Brook valley. Perhaps hundreds of vireos of several species calling at once, black-throated blue and black-thoated green warbler were calling from near the tree, hermit thrush, wood thrush and scarlet tanager were also playing their parts. Beneath the avian chorus the soft rumbling purr of Dunbar Brook far below us provided a soothing rhythm section. Words can't do it justice, I'm looking forward to hearing what Michael captured.
A glimpse of Thoreau's 153'+ top, Michael spotted it first
Michael at the base of the tree. Note the remains of a formerly up slope sugar maple that snapped at the butt and crashed down next to Thoreau
The mighty trunk, the first live limbs on this side of the tree are in the 110' height range
Young beeches at the base of Thoreau
Resting and rehydrating after 100' ascent
Recording. Deer flies, blackflies and mosquitos stayed with us in the tree so we had to give blood while we limited movement and noise during recording, well worth it though.