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  1. #1
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    Has anyone had a support tree fall

    I have and it still bothers me.
    Towards the end of my AT thru I was caught late in the afternoon in fading light and set up my hammock near Crescent Pond, Maine. We picked a spot where my hiking partner could also set up his tent.
    The ground was very spongy and there were quite a few fallen trees in the area. The head end of my hammock attached to a tree of about one foot diameter and about 40 ft tall, foot end to something smaller.
    It rained all night and in the morning I noticed that my tarp was very loose and my underquilt was just touching the ground.
    When I got up I noticed that the roots of the larger tree had lifted about an inch out of the ground, the tree had tipped over and the top was snagged in an adjacent tree.
    I am very carefull to use LNT and now I might be resposnible for killing a tree, thats what bothers me the most.
    I am not sure that the tree was not already dead, there were needles high up but not a whole lot of them.
    So now there is one more thing I look for, I make sure that the soil around the tree roots is not too loamy. I have always used smaller trees to mitigate lightning risk but this one was not particularly small.
    Just wondered if anyone else had a tree fall or is it just me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bindibadgi's Avatar
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    That would have been disconcerting to say the least! I'm glad to hear you survived it, because it could have gone very poorly.

    I don't think that you can hold yourself responsible for killing the tree. In fact, there's a good chance the tree will re-establish its roots and survive quite happily. Not that I would ever hang from it again!

    Just last week a nice big healthy eucalypt fell over out the back of my place. It's not a tree I've ever hung from, but it was fine and healthy looking, so if I saw an identical one out on the trail I would not have hesitated to pick it. The culprit was the very strong gusts of wind we had a week ago, after a record breaking period of rain to soften the ground. To put it somewhat into perspective, we had reached our long-term average rainfall amount for March by 8am on March 1, and the rain lasted for a week solid (that alone is very unusual here; it's somewhat dry, and we've just come out of a long drought).

    I think you're right, and soft ground is certainly something to add to the list of widow maker makers.
    It's bad luck to be superstitious.

  3. #3
    Deadphans's Avatar
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    I've never had a tree fall due to me hanging, but I am fairly new to hanging. There are patches of soil that are very wet and sometimes what looks to be solid ground is in fact a bundle of needles, some dirt, and a cavern underneath created by tree roots and rocks. So your foot will just fall right through. I've had some close calls, and have seen some close calls.

    That tree may have been dead already...?? Its just hard for me to believe that a 40 ft tall tree with a 1 ft diameter could have tipped over by any force <300 pounds. Those roots would go deep in the ground, but then again, when you factor in the poor, loose, loamish soil, as you said, thats probably what did it......it may have been destined to fall anyways. There are a lot of weird patches in the thick spruce fir forests where a lot of trees are pretty weak and ready to snap at a strong breeze. Don't beat yourself up about it, seeing as such a small force such as yourself knocked this tree down I think it was destined. And hey, you just opened up the canopy allowing seedlings the opportunity to sprout and create new life! Kudos! You should visit that site again in 5 - 10 years and see how its changed. I bet it gets way more green, maybe some cool looking mushrooms to decompose that tree xP

    That could have been much worse and I am very glad to hear you are okay!
    Last edited by Deadphans; 03-15-2012 at 22:44.
    "In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." -D'Signore's, Tide Mill Farm, Edmunds, Maine.

  4. #4
    fishbait's Avatar
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    I've never experienced a tree falling from hanging, but did have one fall while I was leaning on it. Some times the ground just becomes so saturated that the roots can no longer stay put. So I think that the tree would have fallen anyway had a strong wind come through. Thankfully there was another tree there to catch so you could share your concerns and remind everyone that even a safe looking tree may not be so safe.

  5. #5
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    One thing you can be sure of is that you didn't kill the tree. I have many trees in my woods that have been tipped over a little from winds with the roots on one side lifted several inches. Not a single one has died or even shown signs of stress.

    I also would suspect wind and not your hang moved the tree (assuming the tree had not been dead enough years for the roots to rot away). No higher then we connect to trees, the leverage applied is small.

  6. #6
    Jazilla's Avatar
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    Not far from me at this very moment is a memorial tree. Nice plaque in front of it and everything. The tree fell many years ago and grew. I will try to get a picture of it if I can. You would be amazed at how resilient trees are.
    Yosemite Sam: Are you trying to make me look a fool?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Ewker's Avatar
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    I haven't but I know someone who has. The tree looked good but was rotten on the inside. He setup his hammock crawled in it and BAM the tree snapped.
    Luckily the guy wasn't hurt.
    There are times that the only way you can do something is alone that waiting on the convenience of others means that a lot of opportunities will pass you by
    Spirit Walker

    Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool. ― Mark Twain

    Who cares about showers, gourmet food, using flush toilets. Just keep on walking and being away from it all.

  8. #8
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    There was a news story in a town about 50 miles south of here where some college kids strung a hammock on a lake shore connecting one end to a dead tree, it toppled killed one and severely injured a second. Very sad indeed.

    I always examine very carefully not only the integrity of the trees, but limbs on surrounding trees as well. I walked out to my vehicle a couple of years ago to retrieve something inside, and just as I bent down and put my head inside, a large branch snapped and came down and severely dented the vehicle. There was no wind, no rain, the branch seemed intact, still had leaves on it. Did $1,000 damage to the vehicle roof, and had I been standing and not bent over into the vehicle, I am sure it would have killed me.

    Tenting is no different as most tenters set up in or near trees. When I take groups on canoe trips, I always caution them about the potential of hazards from above. It is not unusual for us to sit around a fire and hear a significant crash somewhere in the woods. Eyes get big and everyone gives a sigh of relief.
    Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That's what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Hiknhanger's Avatar
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    Hopefully Shug will see this thread and link you over to his video. I saw one where he and his hiking buddy had stopped to set up camp, and the tree I think his buddy was going to hook up to just randomly fell over while Shug was doing the video. You can see it just topple over in the background. It pretty well freaked them out!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Festus Hagen's Avatar
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    Man Down!



    Luckily the hanger was unhurt, except maybe for his pride The tree was good and dead, no worries there.

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