Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
shinrin_yoku
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:03 pm

Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by shinrin_yoku » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:21 pm

Today was probably my best day of 2020. After years of putting it off, I decided to finally pay Dunbar Book a visit. The forest visible from the trail was impressive, and I was also hopeful (yet far from certain), of a chance to to track down the revered trio. I only had the photos and written descriptions on this message board to guide me to the location of these majestic trees.

There was still so much greenery in the woods, that any large trees not immediately off the trail weren't easy to make out. The sun was in my eyes too, making it more challenging. In the end, I think it was the pines who found me, or revealed themselves to me. I feel incredibly honored and fortunate to have seen them.

Once I spotted Sigurd, I could not give up, knowing that Thoreau was nearby, and indeed I saw a massive trunk looming ahead. Sure enough, it fit the description. I was overjoyed. The Grandfather wasn't hard to find from Thoreau's vantage point, but the going was rough for an inexperienced bushwhacker. Boulders, pits, and branches everywhere. Once reaching the Holy Grail of Massachusetts forests, I let out a few excited hollers, partly because I couldn't help myself, and partly to make sure any bears in the area would stay away (there were signs of bear activity on the log beside). The zigzag bark patterns on the base of the Grandfather were particularly interesting, I've never seen this on any other pine (see photo below). After communing with all three, I climbed down, this time more carefully, and noted some of the landscape features so I could someday return (If the pines choose to let me find them again)...
Last edited by shinrin_yoku on Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

shinrin_yoku
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:03 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by shinrin_yoku » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:32 pm

For some reason I couldn't attach the photos to the post...
Last edited by shinrin_yoku on Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4550
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by dbhguru » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:55 am

Vlad,

We're happy that Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather welcomed you into their domain, and that you were able to sense their power. It is much more satisfying and rewarding when one can approach these great trees in a reverent, appreciative spirit. Opening up all the communications channels allows the mystery and magic of the forest to flow through. And around great trees, that becomes a deluge.

Thoreau was the first white pine in Massachusetts that we verified to a height exceeding 150 feet, a kind of "Thoreauvian" measure of the stature of the tall pines of yesteryear. It was with Jack Sobon's transit that we were able to get an accurate height. And thereafter, it became a mission of mine to open the eyes of the land manager (Department of Environmental Management at the time, since renamed to the Department of Conservation and Recreation), to the importance of those iconic trees as not only symbols of the glory of forests of New England past, but affirming the inspirational value of those trees as they exist today.

Since around 1990, we have watched a generation of the great whites reclaim a part of their former status, and it is a continuing mission of NTS to confirm and chronicle that reclamation. If you haven't seen my friend Ray Asselin's film on the history of the white pine, I encourage you to visit his blog at www.neforests.com. You'll find a treasure of nature films on Ray's YouTube link.

Your Internet handle of shinrin_yoku says a lot about your forest sensitivities. Where are you located, if I may ask? Although because of my roll in NTS, it can appear that I see forests mainly through a numeric lens and am therefore always expressing what I see in terms of tree dimensions, like you, I relate to the forest on a much deeper level. So does Ray and Jared. The three of us call ourselves the Tree Musketeers, and our shared mission (also shared with my wife Monica) is to see that value of these huge trees and the surrounding forests is never reduced to the banal level of commercial interests.

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

shinrin_yoku
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:03 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by shinrin_yoku » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:30 am

Bob,

I'm based in the Boston area, and I have indeed seen Ray's film and subscribe to the New England Forests channel. Your interview at the end of the film perfectly captures why I love old growth pines, although for me it's the aesthetics and sense of Tolkienesque awe more so than the sport of it.

In fact, we briefly met in MTSF on October 14, 2018 shortly after I introduced myself on this board. I was with my wife and a friend of mine at on that trip, and it was the first time we visited Elders Grove (right after talking to you).

Since I grew up in Northern Russia, I was always surrounded by scots pines as a kid, but they weren't particularly large (most of them were planted after WWII). I think I first became interested in white pines after seeing a perfect grove in Wright Woods overlooking Fairhaven Bay in Concord, and then stumbling upon the "Grandmother" pine in Hapgood Wright forest (probably the largest such tree this close to Boston, 130+ high and 12+ girth).

Thanks for everything you do,
-- Vlad

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4550
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by dbhguru » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:54 am

Vlad,

Perhaps, you'd like to accompany Ray, Jared, and I on a future visit it to Mohawk, Monroe, Bryant, or Ice Glen. You've got to see Bryant's Pine Loop! The Bryant Homestead is in Cummington, MA. Ice Glen is in Stockbridge.

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

shinrin_yoku
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:03 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by shinrin_yoku » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:22 am

Bob,
I have been to the Pine Loop and Ice Glen several times and love both. A few weeks ago, I visited Pisgah State Park in search of old growth around North Round Pond, but my wayfinding skills are still somewhat rudimentary, so I haven't found the surviving hemlocks... And yes, I would love to join you at some point. Driving up to Western MA on a weekend doesn't pose much of a problem for me.
I am also intrigued by Broad Brook, but from what I understand, it's not really accessible to the public, or at least there is no obvious entry point.
Thanks again,
-- Vlad

User avatar
a_blooming_botanist
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:09 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by a_blooming_botanist » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:52 pm

Vlad,

It’s nice to hear from another big tree enthusiast from eastern Massachusetts. Welcome to the group!

I’m located in Harvard, but as Bob alluded to, I travel all throughout the state in search of exceptional trees and forests. A couple weeks ago Ray and I made our way up Dunbar Brook to check on some of our state’s most iconic trees. After the high winds that took down trees in some areas several weeks ago, I was eager to make sure that the Grandfather Pine survived. We’ve heard some pretty ominous creaking and cracking noises emanating from his trunk under the stress of a light winter breeze. Ray and I were both very glad to find that Grandfather and his lower elevation conspecifics, Thoreau and Olson, are still standing. It’s nice to know that these special trees are appreciated by you, as well.

I’ve visited Pisgah State Park in search of the alleged old growth near North Round Pond. I only explored the southern and eastern shore area and the biggest eastern hemlock that I found was 9.84’ CBH x 101.7’ tall when I measured it in November 2017. These are its coordinates in case you’re interested: 42.84648, -72.44952.

Jared

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4550
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by dbhguru » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:31 am

Vlad,

If you want to see Broad Brook, I’ll give you a personal tour. It isn’t quite on the level with the other sites, but tells a story of forest recovery from earlier land uses. It’s current Rucker Height Index is 118.6. Not bad. I expect we’ll eventually nudge the RHI up to maybe 119, but likely not higher. It is pretty diverse. The stream corridor has 29 species of trees.

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

shinrin_yoku
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:03 pm

Re: Visiting Sigurd, Thoreau, and Grandfather

Post by shinrin_yoku » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:00 am

Jared,

Thanks for the Pisgah coordinates, I was planning to return and check out the Harvard tract there (with the '38 hurricane blowdowns) too... I visit Concord/Lincoln frequently, so will explore the Mt Misery and Punkatasset area more.

Bob,
I would be thrilled to take you up on the invite, one of these days. I don't have much planned for November/December when we will all be hunkering down again, most likely, anyway...

-- Vlad

Post Reply

Return to “Massachusetts”