Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Moose is Loose

This morning, imagine my surprise on arrival at Anchorage South HS to find we were sharing the parking lot with a large and rather unfriendly moose.
There is actually a 10' high moose fence surrounding the school to keep these critters out but there is nothing to stop them from coming in the main entrance just like any other SUV.
We followed/herded this fellow back out the driveway where he decided to explore the front garden of the residence across the street. No one seemed to worked up about his visit. Seems like a normal occurance in the Anchorage burbs. Enjoy following video:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Northern California Sequoia Sempervirens

The Lady Wife and I recently visited the Redwoods in Northern California. We spent most of our time visiting the major parks just south of Crescent City. We camped at Gold Bluffs beach (oceanside of Prairie Creek State Park). It was pretty cold, foggy, windy. Just 1 mile or so inland we enjoyed beautiful sunshine. The first major grove of redwoods we visited was named after Lady Bird Johnson who dedicated the Redwood National Park in 1968.
Please note the epicormic branch on the side of this tree. These poorly secured branches arise in response (I think) to openings in the canopy yielding sunshine previously not available. If climbing, it is probably not a good idea to attach your rope to one of these.

As we walked the trail in the footsteps of Lady Bird we came upon this circle of trees. They are certainly many hundreds of years old, if not thousands. I am wondering if the circle formation is an example of a "fairy ring" where trees were propogated from the base of a fallen tree in a circle around the stump or root wad.

The tree I am standing in is an excellent example of the redwood's ability to withstand a cataclysmic fire. The heartwood was completely hollowed out to some 50 or 60 feet above my head. It would seem that the dry heartwood of the tree burned while the much wetter sapwood remained and protected the cambium from the fire inside the tree. I don't think I would want to be sheltering here in a big windstorm.

Here's another beautiful circle of trees at Jededian Smith State Park.

While redwoods are quite resistant to attack by fungi and insects they are not impervious to same as is evidenced by this conk (fruiting body) about 20 feet up the bole of this living tree.

Still at Jededian Smith, here's a nice example of a nurse log.

A redwood grove is definitely not the place to be in a windstorm. This tree literally exploded on impact with the ground when it came down. The park staff had cut through the pieces of the trunk to restore the trail.
I encourage anyone who has not visited these amazing trees to get in the car and head south!