A Small But Solid Evergreen

Out on Raspberry Island in Rock Harbor I made a fascinating discovery one day this past summer. That little dead tree in the foreground of the photo is about 3 feet tall and has been encrusted in lichens probably over many, many years. Somehow this little spruce or fir (I'm not sure which) has hung on in death, standing fairly straight and strong, despite the wind and wave and snow and ice that the northeast end of Raspberry is exposed to all year long. The tree is a little gem on one of the most rugged shores of the national park. It stands on a mound of solid rock about 10 feet above the surface of Lake Superior and only about 5 to 10 feet from the edge of the mound above the channel between Raspberry and Bat Island. How long can it last standing there? I'll be checking in on this little snag from to time to time.

Tall Aspens

A favorite spot of mine on the island is about half way up the trail to Mount Franklin from the Rock Harbor Trail. The trail there passes through some very tall and now very old big-tooth aspens (old for aspens, which do not last long) on the side of one of the ridges you pass over on your way up to the escarpment. This forest has changed very slowly, but noticeably, over the many years since I was a teenager making my first treks through the interior of Isle Royale. The aspens are so much taller and stouter now than they were back 35 years ago or so. I love the spot now even more than when I was a kid. My son Logan took the photo in the very dim light (he shook the camera a little bit). Rain threatened al during our hike up to the mountain very late in the evening in July. Aspens are somewhat wimpy trees. They don't live long and are easily blown down (as trees go). This forest has lasted long because of the common shelter the aspens themselves provide each other and because this forest is on the south side of the ridge, which means it has a bit more protection from the strongest fall and winter winds. The storms come out of the west and northwest and even the north at the most turbulent times of year. But every time I visit this neck of the IR woods, I find one or two more trees fallen or blown down. Slowly, ever so slowly, things keep changing. I hope you enjoyed this shot. I know I tend to emphasize the coastline of the island in my photography, but this photo was taken in the interior a good mile from any coast (as the crow flies).