Archive for June, 2009

Silo Tree Updates – June 19, 2009

We are now up to 20 U.S. States in the Silo Trees of the U.S. listing. Oregon has joined the list with this tree spotted by Flickr User Scrunchleface.


A tree grows in your silo This silo tree is located in Beaver, Oregon. Photograph by Scrunchleface.

More photos can be found in the Trees in Silos Flickr group. If you spot a silo tree you’d like to share, let me know!

P.S. Calling All Survivor Tree Links!
Silos are just one example of the unusual spots and circumstances trees can survive in. If you have or spot any photos, articles or stories of determined or resilient trees, but sure to submit them by June 29th for next month’s Festival of the Trees!

June 19, 2009 at 7:11 pm 1 comment

Helping the Survivor Tree Survive

It made it through the blast of a 4,000 pound bomb. It made it through the investigation process and the construction of a national memorial. Now Oklahoma City’s Survivor Tree has an another element to face.

Tourists. 🙂

Helping the Survivor Tree Survive (Photo by blmurch)

June 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm 2 comments

Survivor Trees: Oklahoma’s Survivor Tree

By craig
Calling All Survivor Tree Links!
This blog is hosting the Festival of the Trees on July 1st. Please submit any related posts, articles or photos about resilient, determined or inspirational trees!

In 1995, a truck bomb went off in Oklahoma City, tearing through the Murrah Federal Building. 168 people were killed, 800 more were injured. And in the parking lot, stood another victim– an American Elm tree.

Survivor Tree, 1995 (Photo by NASA’s Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team)

The tree weathered the nearby blast of a 4,000 pound bomb. It also made it through the investigation– It was nearly cut down so that evidence could be retrieved from its branches and trunks. It was spared and quickly the tree became a symbol of strength and resilience.

The fact that the tree survived the bomb blast that killed so many transformed it from a mere tree to a talisman for the comfort of all who survived.

It seems to proclaim to all who enter the hallowed site and will pause a moment to listen that the senseless act of destruction perpetrated by the few will not be the final word. The very fibers of its bole seem to radiate hope for the future just as a lighthouse sends its light into the dark night.

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, May 16, 2000

Today the tree is known as the Survivor Tree and is a key part of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. A sign at the base of the tree reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”

Survivor Tree, 2008 (Photo by amacemon)

Derivatives of the Survivor Tree have spread. A clone of the Survivor Tree stands in Rose State College, which lost 17 of its graduates in the attack. Survivor Tree seedlings are also available for purchase from the American Forest’s Historic Tree program. When the Survivor Tree’s time does finally come, its genes and its spirit will surely continue on.

June 18, 2009 at 5:30 am 3 comments

Heart in… Carabiner

Speaking of carabiners, I stumbled upon this photo on Flickr. It’s a heart-shaped carabiner. You can celebrate the outdoors and love in one small purchase! : )

“Hearty Carabiner and Grass” (Photo by Brain farts)

June 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm 1 comment

Dog Owner’s Carabiner

During our recent backpacking trip to Mount Rogers, Virginia, Ryan Somma needed a means to secure our four person (or two person, two dog) tent to his backpack. A carabiner would have been helpful.

Carabiner – Would have been handy (Photo by dpit Media V2)

But– Ryan didn’t have any on hand. His girlfriend may have…ahem…broken his on the way to Spy Rock last April. : ) But Ryan found something else that worked great– Henry the Beagle’s retractable leash. Because it was a leash, we were able to wrap it around the tent numerous times. And because it was retractable, we were able to adjust to the exact length we wanted. It worked out great!

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Camp - Dog Owner's Carabiner
The Tent is Attached, Courtesy of Henry’s Leash

So dog owners, if you are ever in a pinch– keep that retractable leash in mind. Though, I certainly wouldn’t recommend retractable leashes to be in your first string of backpacking equipment.

They’re too heavy. : )

June 17, 2009 at 5:00 am 2 comments

Survivor Trees: Hiroshima’s Phoenix Trees

By DelosJ
Calling All Survivor Tree Links!
This blog is hosting the Festival of the Trees on July 1st. Please submit any related posts, articles or photos about resilient, determined or inspirational trees!

When the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, a majority of its buildings were completed destroyed. With landscapes demolished, soils charred and radiation rampant, Dr. Harold Jacobsen, a scientist from the Manhattan Project, told the Washington Post Hiroshima “will be barren of life and nothing will grow for 75 years.”

Phoenix Trees in 1945 (Photo by Eric Kim)

The trees had a different idea.

Chinese Parasol trees (aka Phoenix Trees) about 1300 meters from hypocenter, had no major structures between them and the blast. They were hit hard. They lost all of their branches and their trunks were hallowed out and burned on the side facing the blast. They were assumed, and understandably so, to be dead. But the very next spring, new leaves budded.

Some trees provide us with shelter. Some trees provide us with food. The Chinese Parasol trees provided the citizens of Hiroshima with something else they desperately needed.

Seeing this new life, people dazed by the tumultuous aftermath of the atomic bombing and the war took courage.

City of Hiroshima Website

Over 60 years and one transplant later, the trees still survive, reminding us that is it possible to recover and rebuild.

Phoenix Tree in 2007 (Photo by Eric Kim)

P.S. The Phoenix Trees were not alone! A number of species survived the atomic blast. You can read about them at Survivors: The A-Bombed Trees of Hiroshima or purchase the related book from

P.S.S. A big Hat Tip to chriggy for introducing me to the Phoenix Trees with his Hiroshima Set on Flickr!

June 16, 2009 at 5:00 am 4 comments

Happy 75th Birthday, Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

On June 15, 1934, Congress established the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In honor of the park’s 75th Birthday, I’m sharing some photos by Flickr user Jim Dollar. I think his photographs do an astounding job at showing why Great Smoky Mountains National Park is our nation’s most visited national park. Enjoy!

Sunset at Clingman’s Dome (Photo by Jim Dollar)

Cade’s Cove Methodist Church (Photo by Jim Dollar)

Greenbrier (Photo by Jim Dollar)

Rainbow Falls (Photo by Jim Dollar)

Spider Web (Photo by Jim Dollar)

More of Jim Dollar’s lovely photos of Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be found on his Flickr site or

For more details on the park’s anniversary and related festivities, visit

June 15, 2009 at 5:00 am 3 comments

Weekly Winners – June 7 – June 13th, 2009 – More Mount Rogers

Like last week, this week’s selection also comes from Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia. This is the second day of our annual backpacking trip. Enjoy!

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - Jimmie Admires View
Jimmie Admires View at Wilburn Ridge

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - Henry Jumps, Ryan Walks
Henry and Ryan in Action

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - View 2
View from Wilburn Ridge

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Pine Mountain Trail - Fog and Rhodos
View (and fog!) From Pine Mountain Trail

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - Jimmie on Wilburn Ridge
Jimmie on Wilburn Ridge

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - Camp - Jimmie Looks Out Tent
Jimmie Looks Out Tent

Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

June 14, 2009 at 8:50 am 5 comments

Mount Rogers: Pony Reunion?

On Saturday Ryan, Jimmie, Henry and I encountered a pair of ponies Mount Rogers National Recreation Area on the Appalachian Trail. Last year on the same hike, PassionPhish, Bill and I encountered a mother and foal with similar markings.

Rhododendron Gap - Baby Pony and Mama Pony
Ponies, June 2008

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - AT - Matching Ponies
Ponies, June 2009

Looking back at 2008 pictures, the markings of the one of the left are pretty similar (but far from perfect) to the male foal we saw last year. The 2009 version does have spots on its back and butt the 2008 foal was missing. Also there is a white hook on his shoulder that wasn’t there with the 2008 foal. Did I have a reunion with a pony I met last year?  I guess it depends on how much a pony’s markings can change as it ages.

Pony - Then and Now?
Baby Pony 2008, Pony 2009

Either way, it was a pretty neat case of deja vu.  : )

More pictures of Mount Rogers ponies can be found on my Flickr site.

June 9, 2009 at 6:00 am 3 comments

Season Compare: Mountain Lake by Richard Cobb (Spring 2009)

Last October, I posted a link to some dramatic Before and After shots of Mountain Lake by Richard Cobb.  They depicted the extent of the lake’s water loss.  Cobb has a new Mountain Lake Before and After combo on his website now.  This one compares a shot from May 21, 2009 with one from September 21, 2008.  It’s a more uplifting comparison– a spring is raising the lake level!

(Hat Tip, Tony Airaghi)

June 8, 2009 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

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