Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

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raven
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by raven » June 29th, 2010, 10:13 am

I have an hypothesis that perhaps can be shot down by a more knowledgeable soul.

It seems to that the cambium of the tree had to respond to insults by growing additional wood for the marks to be positive impressions. In short, scarring. The tree was healthy, with bark, when it was insulted. It may have later died of other causes.

No one has replied to my question about the circumference of the scarring, so I will assume that the pictures show the full extent, and are centered on the scars. If so, a falling tree may have lodged between two -- probably this one and another, perhaps long ago, and may have slowly rubbed its way down as it was twisted in the wind, pivoting at its base. Twisted is key, as the snag would have both rocked up and down and side to side, while this upright tree also swayed in the wind. The damage may have been done by branches. The slope is south facing, the direction from which winter storms come; the position along the ridge -- the east end -- implies the ridge to the south does not block the wind much where I have surmised the scarred tree is located. The damage would have been done fairly quickly, the falling tree then reaching the ground, with the result that all the scars are about the same age.

Evidence may be available near the scarred tree, but maybe not. The scarring might be quite old, so evidence may have been removed or moved years ago during the construction and maintenance of the trail.

Of course, if the scarring is around the entire circumference of the tree, another tale is needed.

Edit: Maybe no other tale is needed. According to the various other publications, the scarring does extend around this "argyle" tree. However, the photos also show the tree surrounded by a fairly dense stand of smaller trees, with a number of nearby downed trees. A major wind event could have caused several trees to fall at once, with wedging contact of their branches resulting on more than one side.
Last edited by raven on June 29th, 2010, 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Stevefromdodge
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by Stevefromdodge » June 29th, 2010, 11:06 am

Here's another page on what's probably the same tree:

http://www.examiner.com/x-6251-Eastern- ... e#comments

One of the commenters mentioned that it may have been the trees defense to strong winds. I can't imagine any kind of repeated damage that would create a semi-regular pattern. Also, none of the nearby trees were noticeably unusual. (To be fair, I have nothing better to offer)

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Stevefromdodge
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by Stevefromdodge » October 13th, 2010, 3:23 pm

Update on this one.

I saw a VERY similar tree on the Top Spur Trail on the right side going up, about halfway between the trailhead and the PCT.

I still haven't any idea what caused it, but I'm pretty convinced it's not man-made.

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IDratherbehiking
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by IDratherbehiking » October 13th, 2010, 3:54 pm

You've gotta love a good mystery on the 'Let's see some ID' forum here at portlandhikers.org

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Stevefromdodge
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by Stevefromdodge » October 13th, 2010, 4:02 pm

IDratherbehiking wrote:You've gotta love a good mystery on the 'Let's see some ID' forum here at portlandhikers.org

true enough.

Do you have personal contacts at the College of Forestry or can anyone email them about this kind of stuff?

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IDratherbehiking
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by IDratherbehiking » October 13th, 2010, 6:16 pm

I simply went to the College of Forestry homepage and in the bottom left hand corner of the page is a contact link that you can click on. From there they give you a OSU web email form that gets sent to the College of Forestry.

www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

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backcountryhunter
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by backcountryhunter » October 28th, 2010, 2:15 pm

Sasquatch territorial marker! :shock:

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Christopher_Hunt
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by Christopher_Hunt » November 5th, 2010, 11:23 am

Looking at the patterns, I am reminded of ice crystals... perhaps there was a perfect amount of moisture in this particular tree, with the perfect temperature to form ice crystals to damage the tree and form these patterns?

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Koda
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by Koda » October 5th, 2011, 6:25 pm

So we have the famous mystery Argyle tree at Mt Hood on the way to Elk Meadows. Image

To me, I always thought this was an anomaly. But then last weekend hiking off trail in the Diamond Peak Wilderness, I came across this lone snag that looked very similar. So similar, I'm convinced it has the same condition, and no longer a random anomaly. I thought I would share here:
Selection_003.jpeg
Snag in Diamond Peak Wilderness
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2

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Stevefromdodge
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Re: Weird snag on Elk Meadows Trail

Post by Stevefromdodge » October 6th, 2011, 9:49 am

I found another of these about halfway up the Top Spur Trail, as well. It's off to the right about 100 feet off the trail.

They're not unique, but I'm still clueless as to their cause.

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