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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why I Don't Walk in the Woods in a Stiff Wind

stick jammed in ground

I guess this is in the nature of a safety tip. But I'm not trying to tell you anything that I don't remind myself about often, too. Every once in a while you hear an oddball story where a tree fell on a camper's tent in the wind and injured or killed them. So... it's always good, when setting a tent up, to check for nearby dead trees. But that danger is pretty rare. This one is a bit amazing to me.

The picture above is pretty much an ordinary photo of the cemetery. But you might notice what looks like a small dead sapling to the left of the large tree. It's not a sapling. It's a branch, only about an inch in diameter, that blew down and stuck itself in the ground.

hole left by stick jammed in ground

Here's the hole when I pulled the stick out. I left a foot in the picture for scale.

depth stick was buried

Here's the eye opening part. This was only a kindling sized stick, right? But it was buried in the ground... nice compacted ground... 2.5 to 3 inches. Think about the force required to do that. Think about the comparative resistance of skin and muscle compared to hard ground... Think twice about walking through mature forests in a high wind, ok?

See Hanging the Cache
See Cold Gold


RNSANE said...

Hey, you don't need to tell this girl twice! That is unbelievable and a picture is worth a thousand words.

Rick (Ratty) said...

I learned the same lesson at the beginning of last winter when I was in the woods when a storm came out of nowhere on what started as a nice day. On the way out there was a huge tree down across the path that wasn't there when I went in.

bemused26 said...

Cor- I wouldn't want to be standing there when that stick came flying down! The first picture is great by the way- the cemetary looks very creepy but pretty at the same time!

rainfield61 said...

I have heard the story about hiker being hit by branches and broke his arm. It is quite dangerous to be in the windy jungle.

overcashed said...

Nice info. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my blog as well.

Secondary Roads said...

Message received. The cemetery background only reinforces the warning.

jude8753 said...

I'm not one to be out in high winds period, but the tips are good ones for all those people that go out exploring and camping in any type of weather. Have a great weekend.

BK said...

Now that is something scary. I'm just glad no one was hurt. I have not thought this possible if I'm not seeing this myself.

Ann said...

Yikes, that would seriously do some damage. Something that you wouldn't even think of really.

spinninglovelydays said...

Wow! I never understood the kph/mph of typhoon reports, but now I see why it's important to take note. Thanks for the warning. :)

Lin said...

Eeeeek! It's like a freaking harpoon!

Sharkbytes said...

To everyone- I should have pointed out that I see "spears" like this all the time. Since most people seemed unaware of this kind of thing I'm really glad I posted it.

Carmen- maybe I should take some more pix to show how common this is.

Ratty- one fell quite near our campsite on the May hike. Kinda scary.

Bemused- the cemetery is so familiar to me that it doesn't seem spooky at all.

rainfield- Jungle? I like that. My northern hardwood jungle. haha!

overcashed- thanks! I comment on things that interest me, so it was easy.

Chuck! I hadn't thought of that! Wow!

Hi jude- well, I thought you were something of an outdoor person? Just not in the wind?

BK- it happens all the time. The trees are very mature, and have a lot of dead branches that the wind brings down.

Ann- I never thought of dangers like this till I kept seeing sticks jammed in the ground after most storms.

Ivy- the wind can just make everyday objects into weapons!

Hi Lin- yes it is!