Today Monica and I headed back to Hermosa Creek
in the La Platas. I couldn't let too much time elapse before a
second measurement. I intended to remeasure both the tall
ponderosa and Doug fir from yesterday. But this time I took my
TruPulse 360 and my Nikon 440 as well as my Nikon Forestry 550.
I actually wanted to remeasure all the tall trees from yesterday
and hopefully discover more. This time, the weather cooperated,
so I was able to take the needed time at each tree.
The first couple of ponderosas I saw that looked pretty old and
fairly tall stimulated the measuring gene. So we stopped. They
proved to be nice, but no cigar. The first was measured to 130.0
feet in height and a girth of 8.8 feet. The second tipped the
scales at 126.0 feet tall and 8.3 feet in girth. I think these
two trees are representative of lots of ponderosas in the area
on the down hill side of the trail. On the uphill side,
the trees are predictably shorter, many topping out at between
100 and 115 feet. Below the trail and down the mountain side and
in ravines is where the booty is to be found and shortly after
measuring the just mentioned trees, I spotted a Doug fir that
looked very tall. Seeing the base was the challenge, but I
successfully measured it to 144.5 feet in height. I then
realized it was the one I measured yesterday at 144.0 feet. Its
girth, as determined yesterday from a scramble down the ridge,
is a healthy 10.3 feet. For me, this was a satisfactory
confirmation of yesterday's measurement with the 550.
I next spotted a dead Doug fir that I thought deserved
a measurement as part of the confirmation of what the area grows
or can grow. My 550-based measurement puts the dead monarch's
height at exactly 150 feet. I estimate its girth to be 11 feet
if not a little more. It was a worthy competitor.
Next I remeasured a spectacular old ponderosa that I had measured
with the Forestry 550 yesterday. On this measurement, I got
144.5 feet as compared to 143.3 yesterday. The light was right
for the TruPulse, so I'm going with that measurement. The girth
of the pine is estimated at 10.5 feet.
After admiring the old pine, I spotted a new ponderosa
pine that I had not measured yesterday. I was able to get a
height of 151.5 feet! Yes, another in the 150 club. I estimate
the girth at 9 feet.
Soon after, Monica and I reached the height champ and I
set to work while she kept the dog and answered questions from
passersby. I first put an orange flagging ribbon at 6.2 feet
above mid-slope. I then used the combination of the TruPulse
360, the Forestry 550, and the Prostaff 440 to arrive at the
distances to the top and the ribbon. I settled on a compromise
distance to the crown point since that is the measure most
subject to error. I used the angles from the TruPulse. Putting
it all together, I had to settle for 160.4 feet as the height of
the pine. That is down from 162, but still a heck of a tall
ponderosa. Before Monica and I leave Durango, I'll measure the
pine at least one more time.
The Doug fir suffered similar shrinkage from
yesterday's 550 measurement. I now place its height at right on
160 feet. I'll remeasure it also before leaving Durango.
However, after the Doug fir, my measuring day was not yet
complete. I turned my attention to lesser pines and confirmed
one at 153.0 feet and 9.7 feet in circumference. Impressive. It
is an old tree. After that one, there were no other ponderosas
in the vicinity that caught my eye, but another Doug fir did and
the tree beside it even more, which turned out to be a Colorado
blue spruce - and a tall one. How tall? Well, I finally settled
on 152.5 feet! Its girth is 8.3 feet. It doesn't replace BVP's
champ, but it is nice to know that there are other contenders in
the San Juans.
On the way back, I spotted another tall ponderosa and
after some time getting its base, I settled on 141.0 feet and
estimate its girth to be 8.2 feet. I have not come anywhere near
exhausting the possibilities, but getting good measurements
requires a lot of work.
S o far Hermosa Creek has yielded the following measurements.
Five girths are estimates at this point, as the following table
Blue spruce 152.5
150.0 11.0 (dead)
149.0 9.5 (est)
143.0 8.5 (est)
141.0 8.2 (est)
Oh yes, I discovered that I left my
GPS at home. No coordinates unless I can find someone to
accompany me on my next trip to the location.
The following image is of the tall
ponderosa. It is in the center of the photo.