La Platas, CO:  Records Were meant To Be Broken (28) Bob Leverett
June 30, 2009


Today Monica and I were taken by friends Faye Schrater and Dick White to Kennebec Pass in the La Platas.  The trip was fantastic.  We made it up above the pass to an altitude of 11,956 feet on what I presume is an old mining road. To get to the pass, Faye drove us up La Plata Canyon - a scenic wonder. I can't begin to do justice to what we saw. Maybe the attached images will tell a little of the story. 
I'll try to construct an email in a few days that will better convey the grandeur of this country. But at this point my head is still reeling from the alpine high I'm on, and I do mean high. We reached just under 12,000 feet altitude and the surrounding peaks rose to nearly 13,000. 
The last image tells the big tree tale. It is the NEW high altitude tall tree champion. It grows right at two miles above sea level. Its roots are a little below and its crown is well above 10,560 feet. It is an Englemann spruce and it is 9.5 feet in girth (36.3 inches). Its height is a solid 137.0 feet! It is an extraordinary tree. It beats the Coal Bank Pass spruce by 6.5 feet. I got excellent agreement between the Nikon Forestry 550 and the TruPulse 200. I measured and remeasured the spruce. It could be slightly taller, but 137.0 is sound. The spruce was not an isolated tall tree. Farther down the ridge, I measured another Englemann to 130.5 feet, the same as the Coal Bank Pass tree. The 130.5-footer grows at about 10,000 feet.
Here is another first.  At 11,180 feet, I measured an Englemann to 118.0 feet in height and 8.6 feet in girth. The bloody  place is amazing. I'll tell more of the story in another email. I just wanted to share the big news now.
Tomorrow it is off to the Piedra River old growth with a Forest Service representative. Who knows what tomorrows story will be.  


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