Attached is an Excel spreadsheet representing my first crack at
assembling the significant tree data gathered on this initial
Durango visit. At this point, the spreadsheet includes only minimal
information. It doesn't include observations about optimal growing
conditions and site potential for the species measured - a primary
objective of my visit. My thoughts are still coming together on
optimal growing conditions, overall site potential, and individual
As a general observation, this trip has been successful beyond my
wildest expectations as a search for tall trees. Record heights were
set for the Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine (162 feet) and Colorado
blue spruce (156.5) using sine top-sine bottom mathematics. Height
records may also have been set for the Rocky Mountain chain for
maximum tree height for any species at the altitude of 10,560 feet
(2 miles) or higher and for the altitude of 11,000 feet or higher.
The Englemann spruce in the San Juans reaches impressive heights.
The 137.0-footer measured at 10,560+ feet in La Plata Canyon could
well be a hard record to break, but there is so much territory, that
I suspect there are at least a few dozen spruces in the 130 to
140-foot height class growing between 9,800 and maybe 10,800 feet in
the San Juans.
Farther north in the Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho Rockies,
altitudes in the 10,500-foot range usually represent above
timberline conditions. In northern Wyoming, timberline is right at
10,000 feet and in some exposures as low as 9,500 feet. Trees hug
the ground when you have them at all. So, the idea of a 130+ foot
tree at those latitudes at two miles above sea level is fanciful to
say the least.
I will put the data into the ENTS official format when I get back
to Massachusetts, but I for now, I just want to get the ball