I can’t image driving without a GPS now… and it’s because I/we let technology take over our lives. It’s hardly surprising that they recently linked the brain to the internet…
Maps can also be a great guide, but what happened before we had maps or GPS? Before technology, how did people find their way through the woods? It appears that there were hidden mysteries in nature, and they have something to do with bent trees.
According to the American Forests website:
Across the U.S., you can find trees that are oddly shaped. Their trunks have odd kinks in them, or bend at strange angles. While some of them may indeed be simple quirks of nature, most of these trees are actually landmarks that helped guide indigenous people on their way. Native Americans would bend young trees to create permanent trail markers, designating safe paths through rough country and pointing travelers toward water, food or other important landmarks. Over the years, the trees have grown, keeping their original shape, but with their purpose all but forgotten as modern life sprang up around them. Today, we may not need these “trail trees” to navigate, but their place in history makes them invaluable. Imagine the stories these trees could tell.
Yes, we know there are many twisted and weirdly shaped trees created by Mother Nature, but there are few things Native Americans accomplished that distinguished them, and wandering wanderers could tell the difference.
For example, many trees in the forest can be naturally bent, as depicted in the picture above. However, the trees bent by Native Americans have a distinct nose, or notch, that extends out at the end of the bend (as seen below). This was made by putting a section of the tree into a hole and letting the tree grow around it.
Aside from the nose, there’s another little characteristic that can help you tell the difference between natural and man-made bent trees. Scars from where the straps were placed while the trees were young may also be seen on the top part of the inner bed.
Numerous of these trees are 150-200 years old, yet as we all know, there are numerous things that humans do that wreak havoc on nature. One of them is the growing population, and these trees will most likely be “timbered” in the near future…
That is why the Mountain Stewards website exists. The website mapped out over 1,000 twisted trees across the country and documented where they were!
Hopefully, both young and elderly people will rush out to view these amazing pieces of American history before they disappear!