Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Emile Big Tree Botanical Area

Our latest search involved responding to the Emile Big Tree Botanical Area in the Umpqua Forest east of Glide to try and find one of the "big trees":  the Bill Taft tree. It's supposed to be one of the largest Douglas firs in the area, with a diameter of 9 feet, 10 inches.

We had printed this page from the Forest Service website, thinking the directions would be good enough. Live and learn. 

First off we went too far, but fortunately not too, too far. Just a mile or so. But that meant we got to see the Emile Shelter, a three sided structure for hikers to get out of the weather.

There's Hubby getting the map out to see if he can better figure out where we are supposed to be.

Half the fun of these day trips is to see what kind of wildlife we can find. Here is a mountain quail on the left edge of the road. She had about 15 tiny babies with her. They were so cute. It's really too bad you can't see them better.

Then there were these grouse crossing the road. This is a momma and her babies as well. But her babies are almost full size. At first sight I thought they were chickens!

If you look carefully you will see one of the "baby" grouse in the middle of this picture. (Remember you can click on the picture to enlarge.) 

According to the Forest Service page referenced above there is a trailhead with an "easy" trail leading in to the Bill Taft tree area.

We drove back and forth, up and down, and all around. We could not find the alleged trail head. So we parked on the side of the road in the general area and hiked in. There was no trail.

As we pushed our way to the big trees something snatched my shoelace and made me trip. I got a nice gash on my left calf and a small scrape on my right shin. Souvenirs!

We figured we must be in the right area. These trees were very big.

We found what we think may be the Bill Taft tree. Hubby laid down to try and guesstimate the diameter. From this angle it looks like it could be the right tree. (Pistol in his waistband is for Yetis.)

Well, if this isn't the Bill Taft tree it doesn't really matter. It was still a very, very large tree!

On the way back to the truck I stopped to pluck a rubus parviflorus, aka thimbleberry. I guess it wasn't quite ripe yet. It was kind of sweet yet at the same time had a tartness to it. 

Though it wasn't on our planned itinerary I suggested we swing by the Grotto Falls to take a look. This is the sign on the road pointing the way towards Emile Shelter and Grotto Falls.

We got to the trailhead of the falls, I think. Unfortunately someone apparently decided to take the sign at the trailhead as a souvenir because there was an empty spot where it should have been. So I didn't know how far the falls was. We walked up a ways until it made a u-turn. We couldn't see where it might have doublebacked again, so at that point we decided to call it a day.

This is from the stream near the trailhead.

On the way home we encountered more wild life. Nothing really exciting but a few teenaged turkey kids crossing the road.

Next time Hubby decides on a road trip I think we'll make sure to do a little more research to find a little more info and make sure we hit it on the first time out. We still had fun though!

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