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Trees - Images of Marvelous Individuals or as Forests

"I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do." - John Muir

Old Growth Forest, Brandarsaig, Isle of Skye   It required a bit of belly crawling to get into this forest due to the density and low branches. The depth of the needle cushion on the ground could only be imagined. A single shaft of sunlight was able to shine through. Orbost, Isle of Skye, Scotland

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Autumn on Hemlock Ridge   A stand of hemlocks is silhouetted against the glow of autumn colors. Hemlocks are found throughout Saugatuck Dunes. The short-needled conifers are extremely shade tolerant and thrive under the taller oak, maple and beech trees. Hemlocks often live for 250 to 300 years. Some have been found to be more than 500 years old. Historically in Saugatuck, they were heavily harvested for the use of their bark in the tanning industry.

 

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Autumn Rain in the Forest   As the rain lets up on an autumn day in Saugatuck Dunes State Park, a momentary brightening of the clouds serves to deepen the contrast between the changing leaves and the wet tree trunks. The dunes forest consists of beech, white and red oaks, maple and sassafras trees.

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Crescendo   A steady wind out of the west worked to cleanse the remaining leaves from a stand of red oaks. The wind tilted the highest leaves away from the setting sun causing them to reflect its light, as other leaves glowed from sunlight shining through them. By dawn the trees were bare. Although they can live to be about 500 years old, in West Michigan red oaks typically live a healthy life of about 150 years and can grow to a height of 75 feet.

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Autumn in Singapore   Where the town of Singapore once prospered alongside the mouth of the Kalamazoo River, only dunes and trees now stand.

 

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Ten Thousand Leaves to Every Tree   Born and raised in Pittsburg, Cody Coe wholeheartedly grasped his Lakota Sioux and Northern Ute roots. He’s a registered member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, a Lakota Sioux tribe. Coe dances in powwows around the country as a professional, competitive dancer. 'When you dance, it's like a prayer. Every little movement has a different meaning,' he says. His is an entirely hand-made Northern Traditional outfit which includes porcupine quill, deer hair, bone and eagle feathers and talons.

 

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North Trail, Saugatuck Dunes State Park   The North Trail in Saugatuck Dunes State Park cuts across the ridge line of a forested dune. Leaves that once blocked the sun now become the forest's carpet, striped with the shadows of the trees that dropped them.

 

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Winter in Saugatuck Dunes   Laid bare in winter, the forest reveals the lesser but still formidable dunes throughout Saugatuck Dunes State Park. A fresh snowfall hides the footprints of all resident creatures leaving only trails of tree trunks, sunlight and shadow.

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The Blizzard of '22   A blast of lake effect snow sweeps through a stand of hemlocks in Saugatuck Dunes. The December 2022 blizzard brought steady winds of 25 mph to the area with gusts as high as 60 mph.

 

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The Tangly Forest   As the Blizzard of '22 subsides, the Silver Creek ravine in Saugatuck Dunes quietly lies in a momentarily gentle snowfall. Although the two-day blizzard brought steady winds of 25 mph and more to the area, the fine powder of the lake effect snow only reached accumulations of about a foot.

 

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Which Way the Wind Blows   A day into the Blizzard of '22, the windward side of trees in a young forest bear clear testimony of the force behind the blowing snow. Steady winds of 25 mph along with heavy gusts kept lake effect snow moving horizontally through the lakeshore area.

 

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Autumn Blaze, Pier Cove   On a perfect autumn day, a skyward view through a maple tree, exhibits every stage of the leaves' color transitions.

 

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Hardwood Forest, Sleeping Bear Dunes   A grove of American beech, within a beech-maple forest, spreads its canopy high above. The shade provided by this 'climax' forest prevents other types of trees and brush from growing, leaving a relatively clear forest floor.

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Stairway to Heaven   Cedars, which are native to West Michigan, are common in many of the region’s landscapes. These trees can live for hundreds of years and are among some of the longest living plant species in the area. A mature cedar can grow up to 40 or 50 feet in height with trunk diameters up to two or three feet. Its thick conical shape makes it popular in landscapes for lining driveways, roads and boundaries.

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