Old Tree Carvings | High Sierra Topix  

Old Tree Carvings

A place to explore the natural setting (geology, flora & fauna), people, constructed infrastructure and historical events that play and have played a part in shaping the Sierra Nevada as we know it today.
User avatar

Old Tree Carvings

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:14 am

While I was wandering around exploring the area between Bench Lake and Arrow Pass I came across a couple trees that were old yet a bit odd with other things on them many of which I could not make much sense of but I found this tree of interest:

Image

It reads HM 1918 and has two symbols carved. The first is the more commonly known pattee cross. The second I could not make out off hand but after further research and the general time periods I think it's German. The pattee cross was used during WW1 as the Iron Cross: Image

On that fact the general shape of the second carving might be linked to the coat of arms of Germany:

Image

I may be completely wrong but it's interesting anyway. The tree next to this one had a large JM 1910 on it. Off hand I would have loved to think one tree being John Muir 1910 and the other being Helen Muir in 1918 but that is very unlikely.

If you can make much sense of the rest of this be my guest!

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image



User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby Rockchucker » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:31 pm

Fascinating, thanks for posting this.
I'm no suture for my future.
User avatar
Rockchucker
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:22 pm
Location: Bishop, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby dave54 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:06 pm

Let the speculation begin!

Other 'old' carvings you may see is two rectangles atop each other. The upper one is vertical and about thrice as tall as wide (typically 2-3" wide), the second one under it (sometimes over it) half as tall as wide -- like an exclamation point.

Those are old trail blazes, formerly used to mark trails before the invention of reflectors and other newer trail markers. Some are still around, but no longer used or maintained, as they damage the tree.

When trying to follow an old abandoned trail the blazes may be the only way to follow the original route. They can be healed over and it takes a sharp eye to detect the irregularities in the bark pattern where they filled in.
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
Log off and get outdoors!
~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
User avatar
dave54
Founding Member
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:24 pm
Location: where the Sierras, Cascades, and Great Basin meet.
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:49 pm

I have seen some cairns marked on trees in places I never thought there was a trail. For example Orchid Lake. If you stay sharp you can follow marked trees to the lake.
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby rlown » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:13 am

dave54 wrote:Let the speculation begin!

Other 'old' carvings you may see is two rectangles atop each other. The upper one is vertical and about thrice as tall as wide (typically 2-3" wide), the second one under it (sometimes over it) half as tall as wide -- like an exclamation point.

Those are old trail blazes, formerly used to mark trails before the invention of reflectors and other newer trail markers. Some are still around, but no longer used or maintained, as they damage the tree.

When trying to follow an old abandoned trail the blazes may be the only way to follow the original route. They can be healed over and it takes a sharp eye to detect the irregularities in the bark pattern where they filled in.


I am sometimes amazed by those blazes "!" They seem really high on the tree, so either the tree grew and it rose up, or they blazed it on horseback, or during winter. I've no clue about the history of those, other than the use of an ax.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5349
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:52 pm

Some of those are high on the tree to be above the snow line for winter travels.
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby gdurkee » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:20 pm

Well, I'm having fun catching up on ancient posts after long absence....
There's all sorts of carvings throughout the Sierra. I think the ones here posted by Rogue are likely regularly used sheep or cow camps during the grazing era. The lower end of Evolution Meadow has one: "Green Brothers Cow Camp" and I've seen others here and there. The best are Basque carvings. Usually figures,often women (it's lonely on the frontier, with only sheep....). There's a bunch of these just south of Tioga Pass but some more at Evolution Meadow but throughout the Sierra at the old camps.

As far as trail blazes go, they come in all kinds. The US Cavalry would mark a "T" in Yosemite. Many of these are high up because they were, as you guessed, on horse when chopped in. Few of these mark snow routes since there was no snow travel in the early days. The snow routes started in the 50s and are marked with license plates (e.g. coming down into Lower Crabtree Meadow from Rock Creek; or the Ostrander Trail). Lots of old abandoned trails here and there. The archival USGS maps are now online and you can find them more easily (ca 1900). The other day, someone was asking me about the old army trail that stayed high from above Nevada Falls over to Merced Lake. That was marked by the army "T" and still sorta followable into the 70s.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:35 pm

Cindy led me to these two Basque carvings one in Deadman Canyon the other at Big Bird Lake:

Image

Image

I was unable to locate the second carving she told me was a bit further up canyon from the guitar guy.
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Old Tree Carvings

Postby gary c. » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:06 pm

gdurkee, thanks for the info. I have seen a couple of license plates and wondered what they were doing so high up in the trees. One was on the way up the Mono Creek trail almost to Mono Pass. There are a lot of turn of the century carvings in the aspens along Mono Creek. We actually used a series of the old exclamation point markers one day to follow the trail on a snowy covered trip in the Dinkey Lakes area.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
User avatar
gary c.
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 999
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:56 pm
Location: Lancaster, CA
Experience: N/A


Return to Sierra Nevada History / Natural History & Setting



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 3 guests