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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4,067

    Default Living history~ trees bent by Native Americans for use as a trail marker

    I have seen many of these out in the grasslands and never really thought much of them being other than distorted trees... was not aware they were road signs

    "Living history doesn't get any more "living" than this: a post oak, likely over 150 years old and bent by Native Americans for use as a trail marker.

    Steve Houser is a North Texas arborist and has documented about 100 likely trail marker trees, made by bending a sapling with a strap tied down with stones.

    "I feel an obligation to do it for future generations," Houser said. "Because once they're gone, they're gone."

    Just like we follow highway signs to find points of interest, marker trees often pointed to food, water, shelter, medicine, and low river crossings.

    "Almost in total darkness, you would be able to pick out these shapes and it would save your life,” said Dennis Downes, a bent tree expert from Chicago. “Get you to shelter, get you to safety, eluding other tribes."

    http://www.wfaa.com/news/Bent-trees-...188431161.html



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    1,637

    Default

    Our local paper had an article about these last year I think. They exist in the forests in the east as well. Pretty cool and a great idea.

    Christa



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2002
    Location
    new england,,usa
    Posts
    4,262

    Default

    anyone know how i can find some of these trees in new england?
    i'd love to check them out.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2002
    Location
    new england,,usa
    Posts
    4,262

    Default

    anyone know how i can find some of these trees in new england?
    i'd love to check them out.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    10,476

    Default

    So cool. I love things like this.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    13,905

    Default

    ...any in Canada?? How interesting.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2006
    Posts
    2,888

    Default

    Absolutely fascinating, thanks for sharing.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2010
    Location
    Gum Tree PA
    Posts
    1,038

    Default

    This post brought back fond memories. I was very fortunate to have taken up back packing as a small child in the mid 60s and learned “back country ways” and the art of survival and finding my way around by an old school “woodsman”. I Must have been around 8 when I first came across a “bent” in the back country of Maine and thought it was an oddity . I was congratulated by my mentor for keeping my “eyes open” to my surroundings and not just the trail in front of me and he proceeded to explain. Yes, this is a Native American technique of trail marking but would be surprised if it wasn’t practiced in other parts of the world. I have come across bents from time to time being an off trail hiker and mountaineer in the various places I have walked softly around our fair country. In “high country” or the high plans where trees are far and few one will come across cairns, large or small piles of rocks that mark the way. They may not mark the way you want to go but if lost they will generally lead the way to a “safe haven” or water.
    As to the bents ones we come across today being made by Native Americans would be speculative. Early settlers learned their ways of survival and navigation from the “locals”. I have come across quite a few in my back country travels over the years. And have had the pleasure of revisiting some of my “marks” almost 50 years after the fact.

    All things learned as we traveling through life should be taught and or looked at and understood as metaphors. Keeping ones “eyes open” is the same as being told to look for the “next jump”. When I taught skiing I used the term “look outside the bubble” to my students in other words look down the mountain not just at your ski tips. When hunting at a gallop ware holes are always of a concern but are easily recognized by subtle differences in the color of the grass and or landscape.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2011
    Posts
    1,101

    Default

    Awesome, thank you for sharing!
    *Wendy* 4.17.73 - 12.20.05



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2010
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    190

    Default

    Interesting! We would find these when I was a child and speculate if they were native American trail markers or if the tree grew that way (in the Midwest). I assume they were trail markers since Native Americans still camped on our farm in my grandfather's day.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2009
    Location
    On a WhisperStream
    Posts
    135

    Default

    I have seen bent trees and have always wondered why they grew that way. Weren't there some on loop 2 of Fort Valley?



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    13,905

    Default

    Much like the Innuit leave cairns in the north where there are no trees.
    Never seen anything like that here tho.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    39,985

    Default

    We have one very, very old cedar tree here that was a trail marker in itself, the one and only tree in the staked plains around here.
    It is even mentioned in the first deeds from the mid 1800's as a fence line between homesteads.

    The old rancher that bought that place about 1905 had the cowboys build and maintain a little fence around it, that is still partially there today.

    You can see that little hill on the edge of the caprock from many miles away coming from the North and up that one canyon there was a bigger water hole, one of the few ones for miles around.

    Some trees don't even have to be bent to be markers, especially here, where there were practically not any tree for miles around.



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