New Record Blue Spruce, CO  (15) Robert Leverett
June 20, 2009


After an incredible ride on the Durango to Silverton RR yesterday (pictures will follow in a day or two), Monica needed a day off to catch up on her practicing, but I had Lower Hermosa Creek on my mind. So, off I went to Hermosa while she practiced on the piano and dog sat. From the start, it was threatening rain and did rain some, but a little rain won't determine a determined tree measurer. I shook the water off and got the job done.

  I first remeasured the tall Doug fir at 0.41 miles from the Hermosa Creel trail head. The tree is down the bank approximately 46 vertical feet. It is conspicuously large. I had measured it before, but this time I found a slightly higher top. I didn't take coordinates for the fir. I'll get them next time. The statistics for the Doug fir follow:

Species: Rocky Mountain Douglas fir

Height:    147.0 feet
Girth:         10.3  feet (39.3" DBH)
Dist:         0.41 miles from trail head sign, 46 vertical feet down the bank

The next tree I measured was a tall ponderosa in the same ravine, but farther up it, maybe 80 or 90 linear feet. This was the 3rd time that I've measured this pine. It is very conspicuous from a couple of vantage points on the trail, which a short distance farther crosses a dry ravine. The pine has a rather complex crown and it is difficult to get the highest point from the spot where the  base is clear. The following is a full set of statistics:

Species: Ponderosa pine

Height:    144.5 feet (highest value obtained was 146.0 feet, but couldn't sustain it)
Girth:    10.1 feet
Lat:           37.460836 N
Long:     107. 855315 W
Alt:       7693   feet   

I then made it to the champion ponderosa and remeasured it. I took a lot of time and settled on 160.7 feet after establishing the base point better. I think I'm going to stick with this measurement. Statistics for the Schrater Pine follow. I named it the Schrater Pine after Dr. Faye Schrater. If it wasn't for Faye, Monica and I wouldn't be in Durango. Faye will visit her pine on Monday.

Species: Ponderosa pine

Height:    160.7 feet
Girth:           9.2 feet (34.1" DBH)
Lat:           37.468432 N
Long:     107.855512 W

I remeasured the Douglas fir using both the TruPulse 200 and the Forestry 550. I got them to agree on the height and will use the value until further refinement. I also moved the base point up a bit. I was too far on the down hill side.

Species: Douglas fir

Height:    158.0 feet
Girth:          10.8 feet (41.3" DBH)
Lat:           37.468372N
Long:     107.8555405 W
Alt:       7736 feet

The Doug fir is named the Dr. White Fir, named for Dr. Richard White, Faye's husband and a leader in sustainable living. 
I then went up stream to the tall blue spruce that I had measured tentatively at 152.5 feet. I knew I was conservative, but couldn't take the time before to get the height down. This time I established the tree's base adequately. I had been conservative before when I was shooting to where I thought the base was and kept hitting obstacles. I established clear flagging andalso  got good agreement between the TruPulse and Forestry 550. The stats follow without Lat and Long. I lost my satellite connection and couldn't get it back. I'll try again on Monday.

Species: Colorado blue spruce

Height:     156.5 feet
Girth:             8.3 feet (31.7" DBH)
Name:      Will Blozan Spruce

I would have named it the Bob Van Pelt Spruce, but Bob declines to have trees named after him at this point, so Will was next in line. So Will, you have the tallest accurately measured Colorado Blue Spruce named for you. The Will Blozan Spruce is by far the tallest I've found in the watershed. The second is right at 140 feet and then the rest of the tall ones are in the low 130s. I'll do my best to get your tree's coordinates on Monday. Its image follows. It is the spruce in the center and in the background with the straight, pencil-like crown.

BTW, using the straight clinometer method, I got 161.5 feet for the spruce. It is evidently leaning a little. I'm actually surprised at the 5.0 foot difference. I would have expected maybe 3.0 feet.


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