Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rockville Academy: Large Tulip Poplar Tree

Thick limbs in the canopy

One of the longest horizontal limbs I've ever seen on a tulip poplar so far
Another tree that caught my eye in downtown Rockville was this large tulip polar growing in the front lawn of the Rockville Academy. I measured the tree to a height of 104.76 feet. The most impressive features of this tree was the huge trunk, limbs, and one of the longest horizontal limbs I've ever seen on a tulip polar to date. At fist glance, I thought the tree was an oak, but looking at the leaves, it was clearly a poplar. This is another tree I would recommend visiting if you ever find yourself in downtown Rockville...

Historic Baptist Cemetery: Big White Oak in Rockville, Maryland

Incredible crown structure

Height: 97.98 feet

I drove through downtown Rockville to measure this fantastic white oak tree growing in the Historic Baptist Cemetery. Standing under the canopy of this tree is pretty awe inspiring as trees of this size seem to be few and far between in these urban areas. Perhaps in this fast paced world, actually standing under a tree like this is not even a priority for most people, as we find ourselves enclosed in our climate controlled vehicles most of the time. I'd recommend taking a few minutes to visit this tree if you ever find yourself in downtown Rockville...

Linden Oak (Montgomery County, Maryland)

20 foot 4 inch cbh

At first I thought this was a climbing rope, but upon further inspection, I'm pretty sure it's a grounding wire for lightning strikes.
I drove up to the town of Rockville yesterday to run a few errands and also to measure a couple of trees I saw growing in the bustling downtown area. Urban tree measuring is new to me, so at first I felt a little embarrassed performing the tasks while people can see me, but it was worth it in the end to get some solid numbers.

While at first driving to the bookstore, I vaguely remembered a large tree growing off of Rockville Pike, just off of 495 near the apartments I used to live in 15 years ago. Sure enough, the tree was still there, and when I saw it, knew it was a big one. The big old white oak was quietly hanging out in a small patch of grass nestled next to some woods, surrounded by roads, traffic, and noise. For some reason, 15 years ago, I thought I remembered someone telling me a tale of someone being hanged from this tree a long time ago. Don't know if that's true or not. Inspecting the tree, a few lower limbs have been removed over the years. The back side shows quite a bit of rot. There is also what appears to be a grounding wire, in case of a lightning strike, running down the tree. The tree had a circumference at breast height (cbh) of 20 feet, 4 inches. Even though a 20 footer seems to be pretty rare in these parts, I'm still used to doing 40 foot wraps of redwoods so I'm still surprised when my walk around the trees ends so quickly. I recorded a height of 84.17 feet. I also found a small plastic dinosaur nearby.

When I got home, I discovered that this tree is actually called the Linden Oak and is Montgomery county's largest white oak and is at least 250 years old! Also, the train tracks of metro's red line were constructed in a westward arc to avoid disturbing the tree. I had always wondered why the tracks seemed to suddenly curve in that area. Anyhow, it's nice to know of an "elder" growing nearby that I can visit from time to time...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

132.58 ft. Tulip Poplar

The Dog Days of Summer are here (or maybe summer is unofficially over) and it's back to work for me. I haven't been hiking much these days, but did manage a short hike last week to do some tree measuring. Found a nice 132.58ft. Tulip Poplar where I was walking, still waiting to find my first 150 footer...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Back East: Road Trip 2016

This photo pretty much sums up the next couple of days on the road as my parents and I made our way back to Maryland. Once we hit the east, traffic picked up and we pretty much bee lined for home. Before we knew it, our summer road trip was over and I was officially a Marylander again...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wyoming/South Dakota: Road Trip 2016

Pull-off along the Continental Divide. 3 years ago while hiking the CDT, there were two young grizzly bears foraging in the meadow to the left.

Wyoming canyon country

World's Largest Mineral Spring in the town of Thermopolis

Bike-race in the Bighorns
Big storms forming near Rapid City, SD

Crazy Horse Memorial

Mt. Rushmore

Wall Drug

Missouri River and Lewis and Clark historical sight. One of my favorite stories, the Lewis and Clark adventure follows you all over this country.

Lewis and Clark exhibit

My mother's grandfather once worked at the train depot in Mitchell. We stopped by to pick up a little dirt.
After leaving the Tetons behind, it wasn't long before my parents and I reached the Continental Divide and stopped briefly in Dubois and eventually to Riverton where we spent the night. I was in Dubois 3 years previous while hiking the Continental Divide Trail. At the time I was hiking briefly with a hiker named Raffle, and we saw a rodeo in town and were treated to some trail magic with a local who invited us to his house for bison and antelope steaks. Our drive the next day took us through the town of Thermopolis, and then into some beautiful Wyoming canyon country. Later we were in the Bighorns where a bike race was taking place. Eventually, our goal was to reach Mt. Rushmore. Some huge cumulus clouds were gathering on the horizon, and the emergency broadcast system announced big thunderstorms forming and rolling through the area. By the time we reached Rushmore, the skies were blackening, and it was obvious we had 20 minutes max to take in the place before all hell broke loose. Sure enough, by the time my parents and I reached the viewing platform, thunder was rolling and winds were picking up. We all agreed we had to get out of there. By the time we reached the car, the first big raindrops were falling. By the time we left the parking lot, thunder and lightning and then hail was falling from the sky. We had left just in time!

The next day's drive through South Dakota was a pleasant, but very hot one, temps were probably in the upper 90's by the time we crossed the Missouri River. No road trip would be complete without a visit to Wall Drug where we spent part of the morning picking up a few souvenirs...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Grand Tetons: Road Trip 2016

View towards the Western slope

Eastern Slope Views

Another highlight of the Road Trip of 2016 with my parents was seeing the Grand Tetons again. We were very fortunate (or unfortunate) to see them two days in a row. We saw them in the evening after leaving Yellowstone National Park. There was no lodging in Jackson when we arrived due to a Friday night rodeo, so we had to make the unfortunate decision to drive two and half hours back to Idaho Falls in the middle of the night. The GPS told us to head towards Teton Pass, which ended up being a 10 percent grade, the steepest of the trip, in the middle of the night. Practically zero town lights, and the occasional big game wandering out into the road made for a stressful nighttime drive. The positive was that we were able to see the Tetons again the next day as we made our way back east. How can one possibly take in the majestic scene and place?