Phillips Pass and Ski Lake, WY

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dbhguru
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Phillips Pass and Ski Lake, WY

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:02 pm

NTS,

Today Monnica and I left the Grand Teton NP, heading back to Pocatello. But before we left the Tetons completely, we wanted to sample the Phillips Pass trail on the western slopes of the Tetons. The western side is far less dramatic, but has its charms - and fine trees. In fact, I'm just beginning to open up to the possibilities. Here is a look at a very old Doug fir. Its girth is 13.1 feet. Its height is only 80 feet, but it has had crown breakage in the past.
Phillips-2.jpg
Later I came across a huge Doug fir that had died. Its girth is 14.9 feet. It is also short. I didn't take a picture of it. Some of the big Dougs exhibited an almost iridescent moss on their trunks. Here is an example.
Phillips-3.jpg
The trail crossed many meadows. Here is a look at a couple of the meadows.
Phillips-5.jpg
Phillips-8.jpg
One twisted trunk of a spruce (Englemann or Blue) caught my eye.
Phillips-11.jpg
Phillips-10.jpg
There were plenty of fine vistas.
Phillips-12.jpg
Our destination was a pond called Ski Lake. It lies at 8,650 feet. Here's a look.
Phillips-7.jpg
Now to trees. yes, i measure a lot. Here is the list of the more prominent.

Species Height Girth

CO Blue Spruce 112.0
CO Blue 127.0
Doug Fir 80.0 13.1
Doug Fir 113.0
Doug Fir 93.0 14.9
CO Blue 114.0 10.2
Englemann 113.0
CO Blue 118.5
CO Blue 120.0
CO Blue 114.5
CO Blue 122.0 8.5
CO Blue 123.0
CO Blue 123.5 8.8
CO Blue 130.5 9.1

I measured dozens of Englemanns, Blues, and Dougs to between 95 and 110 feet. There are many mountain valleys in this area which could have equal or better stands of timber. And nobody seems to realize these trees are all over the place. So chalk another one up for WNTS. When I return to Florence, MA, I'm going to build a spreadsheet that summarizes the Rocky Mtn measurements. But for now, I'll close with one last shot.
Phillips-14.jpg
As you can see, the mountains in the region are timber-covered. Teton Pass is 8432 feet. Ski Lake is 8,650. We started at 7,860 ft. So, you see that elevations are not at timberline. The western Tetons are a whole different place, and the big timber possibilities are mind-boggling. Oh, how I wish we had a local Ent to take up the mission. The story of the Rocky Mtn significant forests and trees is a story that has yet to be told.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: Phillips Pass and Ski Lake, WY

Post by Joe » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:54 am

Wow, very, very nice--- I bet Monica, as a professional musician, probably never thought she'd ever see so much gorgeous wilderness and such huge trees! Lucky for her she married the world's most fanatic tree hugger and measurer! (ha, ha)

You have enough material now to do a big coffee table book! I bet Audubon or Sierra Club might even be interested in sponsoring such a book. I've seen many coffee table books that suck- yours would be a winner!
Joe

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Phillips Pass and Ski Lake, WY

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:37 am

Bob, You are fast becoming the John Muir of our group. The photos are fantastic with great descriptions. You make me want to be out West soooo bad!!!!!

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dbhguru
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Phillips Pass and Ski Lake, WY

Post by dbhguru » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:45 pm

Joe and Larry,

Thanks very, very much. I so enjoy sharing these fabulous places, and there are many more to come.

Joe,

I would enjoy doing a big coffee table book, but I fear my perspective would be considered too narrow, too quantitative, and perhaps, too judgmental for most publishers. I'd have to work hard to keep my harsh judgments out of it. Additionally, places like Phillips Pass and Ski Lake have their stories to tell, but so do hundreds to thousands of other places. Keeping repetitive material to a minimum would be hard for me. Still, the idea is appealing.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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