A Bad Location For A Trail?

If you have been following this blog you might recall the following photograph from a previous post entitled Another Day In The Ozarks…Not!, which chronicled one of the many wildfires we have experienced on our property.  As I was frantically searching for the source of smoke emanating from somewhere on our land, I was impeded in my progress along one of our fire trails by a tree which had fallen as a result of a lightning strike.

Lightning destroyed this tree

Not long after that incident, but before I had a chance to muster up the chain saw to cut up and remove the fallen tree seen above, we were unfortunate enough to experience yet another fire on our property.  The photograph that follows may also look familiar to you, as it is from a previous post entitled To Quote Yogi Berra “It Feels Like Deja Vu All Over Again”, in which I recounted another in our series of fires.  This second photograph was taken after the second fire burned through the area where the fallen tree had lain, and you can see that the fire succeeded in burning up any trace of the tree.

Downed tree is now gone

Today Retta and I took our dogs walking, and we decided to stroll along the same trail that is shown in the pictures above.  When we arrived at the location where the former tree had previously fallen, and than been consumed by flames, we were greeted by the sight of another, larger tree blocking our fire lane.  The following photograph shows this second fallen tree, which you will notice is located right next to the remains of the lightning-struck tree trunk from the earlier incident (which is on the left in this photo, as we approached the tree from the opposite direction as in the first two photos).

Another tree bites the dust

My first thought when I saw the downed tree was to wonder if lightning caused the destruction.  Could lightning really strike the same place twice?  It would be quite a coincidence if two adjacent trees were downed by lightning in the span of 7 months.  The second thought to enter my mind was, darn, that’s going to be a big job cutting up and removing that tree from our fire lane.

A good chain saw project

The trunk is probably over 24″ in diameter at the point where it crosses over the fire lane.  While I am not inexperienced in the use of a chain saw (I usually have the local farm store sharpen about 30 chains for me each season), I am no Paul Bunyan either.  I thought that this particular tree might be too large a job to tackle by myself, so maybe I would recruit (or hire) someone more experienced than myself to undertake this job.

As I scrambled up the slope to get a closer view of the tree, the cause of it’s demise became apparent.

Hollow tree trunk

From the opposite side of the tree you can see that this tree was hollow.  Not dead, as there were fully leafed branches, but severely weakened by the structure of it’s hollow trunk.  It was probably knocked over recently by gusty wind conditions that often accompany the frequent thunderstorms that spawn in the Ozarks.  So now I am not certain if I will hire someone or not.  If I can determine that the trunk is hollow at the points that I would have to cut it for removal, than I will go ahead and do it myself, otherwise, I’ll start looking for help.

4 thoughts on “A Bad Location For A Trail?

  1. When I looked at that big tree I thought it was a red oak and I figured it was probably hollow inside. And so it was.

    Now what’s this business about “frequent thunderstorms that spawn in the Ozarks”? Not my part of the Ozarks!

  2. Pablo- There seems to be a weather phenomonon that is unique to the Ozarks. We all seem to average about 35-50 inches of rain per year, but when you poll individual landowners, they all claim that the storms seem to bypass their property.

    We have had several thunderstorms that provided us with wind, thunder and lightning, but the rain was mostly reserved for someone else.

    The fact that you immediately figured the red oak was hollow prompts me to research why this would be so, and also to learn how to identify a red oak. Thanks.

  3. living in the ozarks, i can attest to the phenomonon. last year i’d watch live radar on weather.com and see the storms seperate and re-form around our location. the garden was a dry dust bowl. the few drops that fell would cause little puffs of dust as they hit. this year though, “the storm phenomonon” has only happened once. we look for rain for our garden and general heath of our land. the weather gods have been good to us this year so far (…distant knocking on wood sound…)

  4. Karl – Glad to hear that you are getting your fair share of rain this year. Down here we seem to be having a “dry” year so far – not in terms of quantity (which isn’t too far below recorded averages), but in the quality of the rain. When we are receiving rain, it seems to be in the form of quick, torrential rain which immediately runs off before it can saturate the soil.

    If I had my way, we would receive exactly 1 inch of rain per week. It would fall over the course of 8 hours, from 10:00pm to 6:00am every Thursday night 😉

Leave a Reply