Western Gathering June-July 2010

Reports from the WNTS Rendezvous in July 2010

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1569
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: SECOND ANNUAL WNTS RENDEZVOUS, DURANGO COLORADO!!!

Post by Don » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:12 pm

WNTS/ENTS-
In about 10 weeks, those attending the 2nd Annual WNTS Rendezvous will be arriving/will have arrived in Durango. The recent change in our forum from GoogleGroups to the ENTS BBS has me feeling a little remote, but I'd like to make it feel more real by letting folks know that Laura Stransky (our 'anchor' in Durango!) has reserved for us a block of very reasonably priced dorm rooms. Of course folks can stay where they wish, but our thinking was to provide opportunities for very low cost housing (dorm rooms at Fort Lewis College, under $20 per person if I recall correctly).
I am not sure what the weather is now across the US, but up here in Alaska, Spring will sure be welcomed, and Durango in June has a very nice sound to it. To be up in the mountains of Colorado with deep blue skies and warm clear air, is very appealing. And to be out in the forests gazing across acres of trees, smelling the earth's spices, and hearing the symphony of sounds of wind, weather, and wildlife...has me planning on more time in the gym, walking tracks to get ready!
We're looking at a balanced agenda of field time and in-town presentations, measurement seminars and local attractions, events of interest to all attending.
And there's still time for those considering attending to inquire, suggest, comment...we'd love to hear from you!-
-Don Bertolette
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
lstransky
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: SECOND ANNUAL WNTS RENDEZVOUS, DURANGO COLORADO!!!

Post by lstransky » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:57 pm

Hi Bob,
Regarding your question as to how to handle logistics for a trip up LaPlata Canyon, I would suggest that we take 4-wheel drive vehicles if at all possible. By late June, the road to the top of the pass may or may not be driveable, as there can be snowslides across the road. The views from the top are incredible!! BUT...the BIG trees are going to be along the LaPlata River anyway, so we'll definitely be able to hunt big trees, no matter the condition of upper sections of road.

Other places? My old growth colleague here will have a crew gathering old growth data in Narraguinnep Canyon. That's the Canyon that had catastrophic fire last summer, but missed some of the best old growth toward the bottom of the Canyon. We've GOT to find out if the tallest Ponderosa pine we've ever measured on the San Juan survived that fire! (Warning: it's a 2-hr+ drive to the Canyon & a steep hike down into it.)

A "must see" will be the lower end of the Hermosa Creek drainage, where you & Monica & I discovered monster Spruce last summer.

More ideas to come.......
Laura

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: SECOND ANNUAL WNTS RENDEZVOUS, DURANGO COLORADO!!!

Post by dbhguru » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:21 am

ENTS,

Who plans to attend the WNTS rendezvous in Durango, CO? At present I am assuming the following Ents are attending.

Don Bertolette

Don Bragg

Lee Frelich

Will Blozan

Bob and Monica Leverett

Larry Tucei Jr.

Laura Stransky and other San Juan NF personnel

Who am I missing?

BTW, this is a guaranteed topnotch event. These field events are where we Ents shine. It is where we can make a contribution that few others can match. It is one thing to engage in academic discussions on measuring trees and quite another to get out in the woods and deal with all the technically demanding, on the ground situations. It is here where our experience reigns supreme. I spent over an hour on one tree at Montpelier dealing with the complex crown structure of a tuliptree that just wouldn't submit. None of the academic solutions to tree measuring that didn't make full use of laser and clinometer with tree segmentation and statistics would work. So far as I am aware, we're the only ones who are skilled in these techniques. Let's help the San Juan NF document their best doing our best.

Oh yes, the scenery around Durango is WORLD CLASS.

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

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1569
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: SECOND ANNUAL WNTS RENDEZVOUS, DURANGO COLORADO!!!

Post by Don » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:14 pm

Bob-
We can add my better half Rhonda to the list, she's looking forward to joining in!
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: SECOND ANNUAL WNTS RENDEZVOUS, DURANGO COLORADO!!!

Post by dbhguru » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:42 pm

Laura,

The place I saw that had the champion Englemann spruce wasn't too far up the canyon. It calls for 4-wheel drive, but not by much. Except for the extraordinary view, do you see any reason for going much beyond an elevation of 10,000 feet?

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

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: SECOND ANNUAL WNTS RENDEZVOUS, DURANGO COLORADO!!!

Post by dbhguru » Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:56 am

ENTS/WNTS,

I talked to my friend Laura Stranski yesterday at the San Juan NF and we're beginning to plan field trips that we think will be highly rewarding and challenging. It is a guaranteed good time. The scenery is superb and the opportunities endless to measure big/tall trees that have not heretofore been documented - or even thought about.

I realize that Durango, CO is a long way to travel unless you live in Colorado, but I urge any who are tempted to make the trip to find a way. Opportunities like this don't occur every day. We'll be working with the San Juan NF on a project that will help them better understand the growth limits of at least 5 important species in that geographical area. I recognize that I'm too inclined to get up on the stump and preach, but this is what ENTS is all about.

Plus for those of you who enjoy quality brews, big Don Bertolette is a bona fide expert on the subject. We will spend more than one evening in the Durango pubs swapping big tree stories. What could be more fun? Laura can set up very cheap accommodations at Fort Lewis College, which is located in a beautiful setting. There are spectacular views from the dormitories toward the La Plata mountains. Side trips to Chimney Rock, Mesa Verde NP, Hovenweep NM, Great Sand Dunes NP, and a ride on the world famous Durango to Silverton RR are all on the radar scope.

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

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Western Gathering

Post by dbhguru » Mon May 17, 2010 8:58 pm

Don,

Indeed. The BBS is alive and well. Monica and I are packing for two-day canoe trip in the Dacks. We'll be leaving for the West on June 15th or 16th. Can't wait. As it stands now, the measuring team out in Colorado will consist of:

You
Me
Larry
Lee
Gary
Laura

There will possible be one or even two more from ENTS. I hope so. It would be nice if Laura can attract a couple more from the San Juan. I think she has an assistant who will almost assuredly be interested if her schedule permits.

However, Hhalf dozen of us can certainly make a dent, but that is about all. The objective is to profile several key species and get a handle on their growth potential between the limits of their elevation ranges in southern Colorado. This will be information that is basically "new to science". Is that an exaggeration? Well, maybe in a big picture sense, but definitely not a local one. I was successful in measuring an Englemann spruce to 118 feet in height at above 11,000 feet in La Plata Canyon. I doubt anyone thought they could do that. I also got an Englemann to almost 138 feet at 10,560 feet. That was a heck of a surprise.

My goal is to confirm the Englemann's fully potential in the canyons and up to the timberline. Oh wait, that's my goal for the Ponderosa, Colorado blue, and Doug fir within their altitude range limits. Oh my aching feet!

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

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1569
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Western Gathering

Post by Don » Mon May 17, 2010 11:20 pm

Bob-
Do you know the particulars of your arrival in/near Durango? We'll want to check in with you early on...we're flying in to Denver early on the 25th, renting a car, and anticipate arriving, say, late afternoon.
Quality attendees! Quality events! Quality forests! We're ready~~
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Western Gathering

Post by dbhguru » Tue May 18, 2010 8:05 am

Don,

Monica and I will arrive on June 23rd. We'll be ready. We're house and cat setting for friends. Last year we dog sat. This year it is house setting for Black Bart - the cat. He's a cool dude cat. I like him. And of course, he's a typical puddy tat. Once he connect us to his food supply, he will become extra friendly. When the owners return, he'll politely stick up his tail and exit stage left. No more interest in us. Cats are cool that way. They no how to kiss up better than any animal I now.

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

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Western Gathering

Post by dbhguru » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:32 pm

ENTS,

Tomorrow, Monica and I head in the direction of sunsets on our annual western pilgramage. It will be the start of a long trip that will feature big tree stopovers all the way from from western Massachusetts to eastern Kansas. We'll then enter the wide opens spaces, the big sky country, a land of windswept prairies and vast wheat fields. The prairies provide a test of a true free spirit.

We'' stop in Dodge City, Kansas and stay over with my brother-in-law from my first marriage with Jani. Dave is a Vietnam Vet who made the action I saw seem like a boy scout rendezvous. He had many scars, but he's great - a true westerner. Dave is a gunsmith and expert marksman. Maybe there will be time for me to shoot a few rounds with Dave, renewing a past love of mine. I once was quite a gun aficionado. Guns in the crowded East are not fun. You need space. Lots of space.

Leaving historic Dodge, we'll gradually build in elevation as we move into the region known as the high plains. Midway across the increasingly dry plains of eastern Colorado, we'll see a thin line of white on the western horizon. Travelers often mistake the line for clouds, but we'll know that we're being treated to our first glimpse of the the lofty Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. Pikes Peak will be distinguishable. Its 14,110-foot bulk was once thought to be the highest peak in the country. That bright irregular line on the horizon will ascend higher with each mile. A developing line of blue beneath the white will become increasingly visible. In time, the initially wavy white line will seem jagged as the recognizable high peaks of the Front Range, one by one, reveal themselves. Each peak offers a unique beauty, and for those of us interested in western history, a chronology that often features Native Americans, surveyors, fur trappers, big game hunters, miners, loggers, and more recently, amateur rock hunters, skiers, and peak baggers. As the peaks loom ever larger and expose their rugged terrain to once intimidated easterners, thoughts of how people lived and survived drought, hot summers, and long winters return to mind. It is big country that called for tough people.

We will enter the domain of the Rockies south and west of Pueblo on U.S. 160. The Spanish peaks will loom high just to the south, presenting haunting landforms that call to Larry Tucei Jr. and me. These peaks, mother breasts of the world, were holy ground to the early Aztecs. We will climb to nearly 9,500 feet at La Veta pass in the Sangre de Cristo, passing peaks that loom higher by 3,000 feet and more. Place names will constantly remind us of the Spanish heritage. This is part of the old Southwest, a land of wide open spaces, juniper and pinyon, a burning sun, and adobe structures. It is a part of the Nation's history that lives primarily in the imaginations of romantics, but to my eye, it hard to find a more appealing landscape.

Each trip I make to connect with western vistas is also a journey into the colorful past of a region that wasn't even part of the United States until the early 1900s. There are placed I go in the West where I seem to receive dim messages of life from earlier times. It is said that events cast their shadows and those shadows persist. That's a metaphysical concept and beyond my earthly knowing. But I do believe that I unconsciously tune into past events in some vague way that induces unexplained nostalgic feelings for a place. they can come on quickly and inexplicably. I used to get those feeling when passing through Virginia Dale, north and west of Denver on the old Overland Trail. And then there are my own recollections. Some of my happiest memories are of scaling snowcapped peaks, staring into the depths of canyons, and exploring vast open spaces. I could feel the pulse of the land. It was young and vibrated with energy. But in those days, I didn;t take much time for contemplation. I was always impatient to get to a summit. I was less reflective. That was then. Age does mellow one.

When I look into the mirror these days, I see less hair and more wrinkles. These are signs of wisdom in some cultures. If so, I'd be content to settle for less wisdom. I long for the days of peak energy, but then I wonder how much I then appreciated being in the moment? I seemed unable to stay still, except on occasion. I had to be moving. I did absorb a lot, but missed more. These days, each moment seems precious, more meaningful.

When Monica and I enter the high, wide San Luis Valley, we'll stop and visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park on the western slopes of the Sangres. We'll play in the sand. We'll look for endemic species. We'll stand spellbound gazing at the views of the dunes against the backdrop of the mighty Sangre de Cristo. Photographic opportunities will avail themselves - one after another. Everything is on a vast scale. One gains perspective. The closer one approaches the summits of the Sangres, the more it becomes a neck-bending experience, and one appreciates their size when traveling away from them. They slowly recede, but continue to have an impact for many tens of miles.

After our brief communing with the dunes, it will be on toward Durango. We'll cross the San Luis Valley and reach the resort community of South Fork on the eastern slopes of Colorado's most scenic range - the San Juans. It would take a book to explain why the San Juans represent the pinnacle mountain experience in Colorado. Most Rocky mountain veterans agree, but nobody wants to diss the other fine ranges. We choose our words carefully - not point in offending. It's all good. Once in the San Juans, we will work our way toward Wolf Creek pass and take a brief side trip. We'll head up to a high point on the continental divide. Crossing that great water divide is another exercise for me in stretching the imagination. I try to imagine the sweep of the western landscape and the role of the water divide. My imagination falls pitifully short, but I am always uplifted by the exercise.

On the other side of the divide, we'll drop down into a long stretch of elevated landscape that eventually winds up in a basin of the Animas River. We'll be in Durango, where we'll hook up with old friends for a glorious 21-day stay. We'll explore new spots, hopefully setting more tall tree records in high altitudes. I'll wax eloquent with the statistics, lauding the San Juan's contributions. We'll visit Don's, Don's, lee's, Will's Jennifer's, Barry's, Laura's, Kip's, Faye's and Dick's trees. It will be a continuous Rocky Mountain high, appropriate to our first official WNTS event.

Beginning on June 16th or 17th, I plan to submit daily trip reports, but I will not attempt to combine them into one large work - too much work. This year it will be about capturing and sharing the mood of the moment. There's far too much on my plate to undertaking another project of size, so be prepared for snippets.

BTW, there is plenty of space for others to join our first WNTS rendezvous. This is about great friends, great mountains, great trees, and lots of socializing. Come one, come all. And the is the trip from Durango to Silverton on the scenic narrow gauge railway for those who want to make the trip. It is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

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

Post Reply

Return to “WNTS Rendezvous July 2010”