The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

This is a forum for trip reports that pre-date the Portland Hikers forum, trail photos from pre-digital era, or any other discussions that focus on trail history.
Post Reply
User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 3682
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

Post by Don Nelsen » July 3rd, 2018, 5:53 pm

I've been hiking and exploring the NW for a few years and have most always had a camera at the ready. Of course, in the early years, my income was minimal, film was expensive and even more so developing. Still, I've managed to take some photos that have shown some remarkable changes over the years. Some, though, have shown how little some areas have changed.

About 50 years ago, I drove over McKenzie Pass and with a WWII surplus tent, camped just east of the pass right up against the lava flow. I've gone back and taken photos of the same area and will post them soon when I get some more time to scan them. For the time being, here is a group of photos I've taken of a tree from 1985 up to last week about a mile east of the pass. I've camped in this spot for many years and my kids came to know this as "The Usual Place" since they loved the wonderful times we had on many trips over the years. When they asked where we were headed for the week and I said "the usual place, they would be jumping up and down in anticipation. Campfires, marshmallows, fun hikes and just great family adventures.

The recent fires spared this great campsite but just barely. I hope to get back up there again and hopefully continue to take pics of this eternal tree up on the lava field. If you examine the photos carefully, you can see the tree changes over the years but not very much! Of course, the kids have dubbed this "the usual tree".

This first photo was taken in Aug. of 1985. a tripod mounted night shot but you can see this venerable hemlock quite well:

Image

The next in 1996:

Image

2004:

Image

Last week, 2018.

Image

Stay tuned for more on this subject, but it may take me a few weeks.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

User avatar
bobcat
Posts: 1924
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Re: The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

Post by bobcat » July 4th, 2018, 4:26 pm

The "usual tree" is losing some hair on a couple of those middle branches but otherwise looks in great fettle!

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 3682
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

Post by Don Nelsen » July 4th, 2018, 6:02 pm

bobcat wrote:
July 4th, 2018, 4:26 pm
The "usual tree" is losing some hair on a couple of those middle branches but otherwise looks in great fettle!
Like the tree, I've lost a bit of hair myself, but not much!

One of things that I think is so amazing is how long even the dead trees on the lava field hold up. There is not much out there to eat them and it's so cold for much of the year they just seem to go on forever. I've read about the bristlecone pines down in CA that scientists say can last 1,000 years after they die before they are gone. I don't think the McKenzie trees can last that long but who knows.


Thanks for the comment!

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12456
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

Post by retired jerry » July 4th, 2018, 7:18 pm

Next time I'm at McKenzie Pass I'll have to look for the Don tree

User avatar
Water
Posts: 1165
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

Post by Water » July 5th, 2018, 12:11 pm

i think i know this place.. i camped here with a crew of PCT thru hikers a few years ago after putting on a huge trail magic all day at the crossing.

thanks for sharing
Feel Free to Feel Free

User avatar
jeffstatt
Posts: 3820
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver

Re: The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

Post by jeffstatt » July 5th, 2018, 3:00 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:
July 3rd, 2018, 5:53 pm
About 50 years ago, I drove over McKenzie Pass and with a WWII surplus tent, camped just east of the pass right up against the lava flow. I've gone back and taken photos of the same area and will post them soon when I get some more time to scan them. For the time being, here is a group of photos I've taken of a tree from 1985 up to last week about a mile east of the pass. I've camped in this spot for many years and my kids came to know this as "The Usual Place" since they loved the wonderful times we had on many trips over the years. When they asked where we were headed for the week and I said "the usual place, they would be jumping up and down in anticipation. Campfires, marshmallows, fun hikes and just great family adventures.

The recent fires spared this great campsite but just barely. I hope to get back up there again and hopefully continue to take pics of this eternal tree up on the lava field. If you examine the photos carefully, you can see the tree changes over the years but not very much! Of course, the kids have dubbed this "the usual tree".
Can't tell you how much I love this. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to more...

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 3682
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: The eternal trees of McKenzie pass

Post by Don Nelsen » July 10th, 2018, 2:56 pm

Thanks Jerry, Water and Jeff for the replies and comments!

Jeff,
Glad to see you back on the forums again!

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

Post Reply