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The Saheda White Pine as of March 2019

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:04 am
by JHarkness

I wasn't planning on creating a trip report for this, but I decided I would for the sake of sharing Saheda's 2019 pre-growing season numbers. On March 27, I visited the Elders Grove located in the Deerfield River Gorge in the Mohawk Trail State Forest. I had been wanting to see these great trees since I first read of them several years ago.

Parking on the east side of the Deerfield River, I began my hike by crossing river on the bridge used by Zoar Road, this bridge offers an excellent view of the Elders Grove.
The emergent pines of the Elders Grove as seen from the Zoar Road bridge, Saheda is rightmost of the pines.
The emergent pines of the Elders Grove as seen from the Zoar Road bridge, Saheda is rightmost of the pines.
After turning onto the trail on the west side of the bridge, one quickly enters a wonderful mature northern hardwood forest dominated by sugar and red maple, white ash, northern red oak, black and yellow birches and some remaining american beech. A dense understoryis present in some areas, consistting primarily of hobblebush.
Hobblebush (viburnum lantanoides) buds pictured.
Hobblebush (viburnum lantanoides) buds pictured.
Canada yew (taxus canadensis) was also present in some areas.
Canada yew (taxus canadensis) was also present in some areas.
Birches and boulders anyone?
This photo has several other interesting features in it, such as the Deerfield River in the background and some of the Elders Grove pines on the ridge on the right.

Soon, I reached the Elders Grove and the first of the pines came into view, Ouray, Sacajawea and Saheda. I thought, upon arrival at Saheda, that I had never laid eyes on such an incredibly tall tree before, well I hadn't, at least not in the Northeast given that Saheda is the second tallest living thing in the Northeast. My first order of business was to measure Saheda, I tapewrapped the trunk and made my way up into the boulder field above the grove, I eventually found a vantage point, atop a boulder, where I had a clear view of Saheda's top and base. This is what I saw from there.
I had trouble getting a good measurement at first, trying to take both slope distance and inclination using the vertical distance or missing line modes was not working at such a distance, on each measurement the laser would either hit an upturned branch closer than the top or I would have to point the crosshairs above the top to hit the right growth candle, I had results varying by 7 feet by doing this, so I took the SD and INC measurements seperately and got a much more reliable laser return and and a stable INC reading pointed directly at the highest cluster of needles, here are the results.

Tag Number: 154
Name: Saheda
Circumference: 12.25'
Height: 172.40'

Going into the 2019 growing season, that is the height of the second tallest known living thing in New England. I didn't measure any other trees on my visit, I chose instead to wander around the grove enjoying the great trees and identifying them by tag number.

I'll close with a photo looking up Saheda's towering trunk.