12/29/2011

Going, Going, Gone

"Going" - I photographed the Douglas fir in the distance one year ago
and wondered how long it would last
Change is constant in the coastal forest, and where the forest meets the sea exists a zone where nothing stands still for long. Wind-driven salt spray, rain, and the ceaseless eroding action of tides and waves make this zone a challenging place for a tree to eke out an existence.

A year ago I did a post after a hike along the beach on the coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Sooke, BC. Along the stretch of beach there are several big Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir that are being eroded by the action of the pounding surf, and are tottering on the edge.

"Going" - Close up of the root ball, showing its precarious, eroding perch
This tree in particular caught my attention due to its gravity-defying location hanging off a steep bluff. The Douglas-fir was a fair size (over 30m/100ft.), and it has been growing here since before WWI. It was obvious that it was only a matter of time before nature took its course on this tree.

"Gone" - The big tree gives in and hits the beach
Sure enough, the tree did not make it through 2011 intact, and now lies on the beach pointing out to sea. Maybe in 2012 it will change into a drift log, showing up on a beach near you.

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