Poll: What do you consider a Widow Maker?

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Thread: Widow Makers

  1. #1
    Registered User squirrel bait's Avatar
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    Default Widow Makers

    What do you consider a "Widow Maker"? Any tips and or woodlore on how to avoid these? Other than the old reliable Look Up. Thanks.
    "you ain't settin your sights to high son, but if you want to follow in my tracks I'll help ya up the trail some."

    Rooster Cogburn.

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    Registered User Streamweaver's Avatar
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    A big dead tree thats ready to fall at any given moment. For example if you show up at a campsite after dark ,in a big hurry to pitch your tent before it rains and forget to check the condition of the trees around your site. Then in the middle of the night that coldfront comes whippin through and too late you hear that loud crack and before you can even get outa your sleeping bag ,like a big foot squashing a bug that ol widder maker flattens you like a pancake!! And the ol lady becomes a widdow. Streamweaver
    "Theres is no real hope of traveling perfectly light in the mountains.It is good to try,as long as you realize that,like proving a unified field theory,mastering Kanji,or routinely brewing the perfect cup of coffee,the game can never be won." Smoke Blanchard

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    any deadfall bigger than 10'........i voted for....


    i'm used to hiking in this environment in East TN & in Smokies as there's been a blight in the tree population for several years now....& the trees are beginning to fall! ......"Look out belowwwwwwwwwwwww!"




    be careful out there!

    see ya'll UP the trail!
    see ya'll UP the trail!

    "Jaybird"

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    www.trailjournals.com/Jaybird2013

  4. #4

    Default widdermakers

    with all the wind we've been having, some new widows have undoubtedly been made - even if the lucky ones escaped, telltale blowdowns remain.

  5. #5
    Registered User Streamweaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tombone
    with all the wind we've been having, some new widows have undoubtedly been made - even if the lucky ones escaped, telltale blowdowns remain.
    Yeah same here!! Wind was howlin all day and hasnt stopped yet!! It was nice and warm during the day though ,bout 55 degrees. I did a day hike in the local state park today and they had warning signs up ,because they are still cleaning up after Issabelle and theres alot of dead trees leaning on live ones and loose branches that can get blown around with these high winds. Streamweaver
    "Theres is no real hope of traveling perfectly light in the mountains.It is good to try,as long as you realize that,like proving a unified field theory,mastering Kanji,or routinely brewing the perfect cup of coffee,the game can never be won." Smoke Blanchard

  6. #6

    Default brand new heavies

    lots of the dead pines came down in these big winds. There were many more down along the foothills parkway cocke county segment yesterday!

  7. #7
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Default True Story ...

    My wife joined me for about a month in Virginia on my thru-hike last year. We set up tents one near the Wapiti Shelter (just south of Pearisburg) just as a bad storm was about to blow through. It rained and blew so hard that we just made dinner in our tents and went to sleep. In the middle of the night I heard something hit the ground very near my tent but shrugged it off at the time. When we awoke and went outside the next morning we found a branch (about 2 inches in diameter) stuck in the ground like a javelin ...about 6 - 8 inches from the tent. Another foot or so and one of us would have bought the ranch.

    From that point on I payed a lot more attention to what was above my tent. It's not just the big trees that can do you in. Watch out for them little suckers too !!
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  8. #8
    Registered User Ramble~On's Avatar
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    A "Widow Maker" is an overhead branch...usually dead that has the possibility of falling. In high winds, the branch doesn't have to be dead. Snow and ice will also cause branches to come down.

    A "Snag" is a dead tree that "could" fall.

    both are items to look for when deciding on a campsite.

    A good sized snag can cause the domino effect when it comes down....bringing smaller trees down with it.

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    Default Impaling

    I live in Oregon but I still like to read these forums.

    Anyways, everytime I see a big branch sticking out of the ground with a sharp end, it kind of scares me. I think to myself: "Hmm. If I trip right now, that is going right through my stomach." Well, I am not married so I guess I couldn't call it a widow-maker .

  10. #10

    Default

    I dropped a friend off on Springer April 12th, and 30 minutes later the same road was blocked by a huge tree that had fallen in that period of time. It would have killed us even in the car! We backtracked down another road to get out.

    This tree looked pretty healthy, so I guess it can be hard to judge which will fall and when.
    Robusto.

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    Registered User walkin' wally's Avatar
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    Default Roots

    I agree with the fact that trees can look pretty healthy. Sometimes the root system just can't take the strain of the wind and down it comes. In some places the soil is too shallow and the trees are growing over bedrock or hardpan and then it is just a matter of time before the tree uproots.

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    Hey briscoe, OR is a cool place.

    I always check before setting up camp, especially if wind is setting in, you're all right - those who mention that are just smart, you don't know what will fall when, even healthy trees without a great root system can fall as well
    For with God, nothing is impossible! Luke 1:37

  13. #13
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    Lots of rain and high winds are bad news for most trees, unless their roots go deep.

    In the South (possibly other places along the trail) watch for pine trees that have been killed by beetles. Once beetles get into a forest of pine they will wreck the entire stand of trees of the trees are not cut and burned. I travel for work a good bit, and fly out of Atlanta, GA. frequently. If you get the window seat and look out on a clear day, you can see ever-expanding patches of brown in the sea of green pine trees. A tell tale sign that a tree is infested with beetles is white powder at the base (best way I can describe it is that it appears to be fine sawdust). Pine drops limbs pretty bad anyway- as the tree grows higher limbs below the needle canopy will wither and die and fall pretty easily. I'd feel more comfortable camping in an old growth area of oak or similar hardwood, although they can drop limbs too...

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    A.T.2000 retread's Avatar
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    If a man speaks in the forrest...
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    is he still wrong?

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    My wife said "Yes"
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    Registered User walkin' wally's Avatar
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    Talking

    My wife said yes too, every time, no matter how many miles back in the woods he goes.

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  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybird
    any deadfall bigger than 10'........i voted for....


    i'm used to hiking in this environment in East TN & in Smokies as there's been a blight in the tree population for several years now....& the trees are beginning to fall! ......"Look out belowwwwwwwwwwwww!"




    be careful out there!

    see ya'll UP the trail!
    It's referred to as "smacking the smug out of a hamock hanger". I wonder how well they sleep on a windy tree groanin' night.

  19. #19

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    My husband does trail maintenance and says the "widow makers" are possibly the most dangerous things encountered on the trail. hikerwife

  20. #20
    Registered User Rifleman's Avatar
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    Default Widdow makers

    Quote Originally Posted by NICKTHEGREEK
    It's referred to as "smacking the smug out of a hamock hanger". I wonder how well they sleep on a windy tree groanin' night.
    Nick,
    We sleep just as well as you ground dwellers! Actually better since we're rocked to sleep.
    Cordially,
    Rifleman
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