1 Harper Flat
Harper Flat contains about 30 redwoods over 350 feet in height in an area no larger than 400 yards X 300 yards. That’s quite a tight grouping of tall trees. It sits on the south side of Bull Creek a little bit east of Giant Tree. The Bull Creek south side trail goes right through a section of Harper Flat.
Over the last few years I’ve been through Harper Flat a few times, and have seen every tall tree in that area. But I didn’t know which was which. The trees themselves are on some published lists with heights and diameters. But height is difficult to determine in the forest and there are many similar diameters and fusions in the area.
Recently I collaborated with an expert tree seeker, combining some clues we had with some new technology, and we were able to come up with a pretty good layout associating specific crowns with specific trees in Harper Flat (any in many other areas).
2 Harper Flat Transect
In May it was time to put the technical findings in action and do a transect of Harper Flat. We had GPS, range finders, D-Tapes, and some custom created maps to assist in the effort.
Working generally southwest to northeast we identified with high probability all the tallest trees in Harper Flat, including the notable trees Valentine, Apex, Alice Rhodes, Mother and Daughter, Pyramid Giant, and Randy Stoltmann (the order listed here is random).
There are many large fallen logs in Harper Flat which makes getting from point A to point B circuitous. Then also some of the notable trees are tucked in areas with the logs and brush, so care must be taken. There was also quite a bit of bear poop in Harper Flat, a bear or maybe a bear and cub must be accessing Bull Creek through this area.
To be honest the most scenic and impressive trees I saw in Harper Flat were none of the trees noted above, but instead a couple named Big Log (Brutus) and Bushy Toe. Both are over 350 feet and have large diameters.
Big log 361 feet tall, 15.5 foot diameter.
Bushy Toe 351 feet, 17 foot diameter. This tree is just north of the Bull Creek south side trail.
Then also it should be mentioned there are two spectacular signed trees nearby. On the south side of Bull Creek is Giant Tree, 354 feet, 17 foot diameter, while nearby on the north side of Bull Creek stands the stately Rockefeller Redwood, 366 feet, 15 foot diameter.
3 An Encounter Along the Trail
We saw quite a few people in the area on this day, even off trail. Almost all had a friendly hello and we chatted for a bit about hiking and redwoods. However when we were rounding a bend in the trail we met two guys going in the other direction who ducked down and started tying their shoes. It was clearly avoidance behavior, not wanting to be seen. They had nice cameras and tripods. Anyhow we said a brief cursory hello and moved on.
I suppose this all sounds strange to some, but there is intrigue in the redwoods, some people have gone rogue and put out GPS, hiking directions and very nice photos for a bunch of specific trees, even some way off trail. Now this is contrary to the current status quo, very contrary. And the people doing this have chosen to remain anonymous.
I think these people would be more effective in their endeavors if they took credit for what they have built and made their case for the site content.
I agree for some trees right by trails it is pretty silly to keep them a “secret”. But then for others, way off trail, it is pretty risky to send people over hill and dale to get to the trees. Then there is a lot of ground in between.
Maybe some common ground can be found.