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  1. #21
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Under normal circumstances I would say go and plan on camping in shelters as they offer much more protection from falling limbs/trees. But many, if not most shelters, along the AT are closed due to COVID-19 measures. https://appalachiantrail.org/explore...rther%20notice. So, like others have mentioned, if you go, take some extra time to survey and choose your camp site wisely. Often the winds are substantially less on the lee side of a ridgeline once you get down a little bit in elevation.

    Yep, the shelters are probably safer, but even they can be crushed during a windstorm. Here's a post that I made a few years ago after hiking the Northville Placid Trail in upstate New York:

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthr...=1#post1354464

  2. #22

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    Lots of good advice about assessing the surrounding campsite trees for health and vigor as well as for consideration of loading on the trees such as ice, snow, and water. A tree with a big crown (lots of branches with leaves) can get loaded down excessively. Heavy ice storms though can bend skinny trees.

    I often build fires and when collecting branches you get a feel for the best places to look. You won't find many large branches under skinny young trees. Big trees drop big branches!

    Disease and insect defoliation exposes unaffected edge trees to new wind stresses. The same thing happens in a newly created gap in the canopy (tree falling, breaking, dying).

    Some tree species are subject to greater windthrow, shallow rooted trees are an example. If the soil is super saturated, it's windy, and there's a lot of tipped over trees with exposed roots maybe move a little further along.

    You'd be surprised as to the size of a branch that can hang a tree up, keep it from falling. Doesn't take much of a branch to do this. Then that tree is just waiting for a shift of wind to bring it down so don't camp near leaners! What's a safe distance you ask? About 2.5 X tree height. That'll keep you away from the tree and most anything else it knocks over on the way down.

    I'm not one to really let the weather stop me from a planned trip though. I don't exceed my gear limitations.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  3. #23

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    Give a potential campsite a thorough inspection (look up at the trees) & stay far away from any questionable timber.

    Falling branches & trees are called "widow makers" in the logging industry for a good reason.
    "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it."
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  4. #24
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    I actually love getting out in crazy weather! A few years ago after I got my spikes and snowshoes they called for lots of ice and lots of wind so I headed up to ravens rocks. And got some wind on the way up but really tested my kathoola spikes for the first time on the way up , which of course are the best.

    But I got up ravens rocks and there's a couple spaces tucked back in a bunch of small trees and that's where I spent the night.
    I could hear the wind coming over the mountain like a freight train and seeing them trees bending and my tent bending to the wind!! Yeah living on the edge, the art of living for sure!!

  5. #25
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    The night we camped exposed on the rim of Crater Lake Oregon in Feb 2013 we were pounded by 50+ mph winds throughout the night without a care in the world about the big old tree shielding us from the brunt of the wind as these ancient natural monuments have been experienced that kind of winds regularly for many human lifetimes. Admittedly, we didn't pitch our tent downwind from the old snag, just downwind from the big tree.
    2013 crater lake rim camp2.jpg2013 crater lake rim camp.jpg
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    The night we camped exposed on the rim of Crater Lake Oregon in Feb 2013 we were pounded by 50+ mph winds throughout the night without a care in the world about the big old tree shielding us from the brunt of the wind as these ancient natural monuments have been experienced that kind of winds regularly for many human lifetimes. Admittedly, we didn't pitch our tent downwind from the old snag, just downwind from the big tree.
    2013 crater lake rim camp2.jpg2013 crater lake rim camp.jpg
    Yeah nice picture but you are disregarding information present. That looks to be a mostly open grown tree, which is great for wind tolerance. Notice though it doesn't have a full crown down low where an open grown tree should. It's already lost branches and they don't fall up. Maybe you dragged that branch over or maybe it fell off that tree‽ There's also a dead branch top right. Not a particularly high risk in general, usually more of a bad timing situation, but gravity sucks right?

    Was that an Omega tent? They were pretty bombproof, particularly with the internal stabilizers. I never worried in the wind with that tent.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  7. #27

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    For future reference,when I worked for the Georgia Forestry Commission it was widely accepted that old snags like that also draw lightning which is the causal factor in many wildfires.I have personally seen them smoking after a strike.Something to consider in summertime,winter not so much.

    As for wind speeds and hiking,I guess it's dependent on where you are but in the Southeastern US if the winds are greater than 20 then I would cancel the trip most likely.
    Last edited by Five Tango; 01-19-2021 at 19:22.

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