We’re fortunate to have on the lodge property one of the last old-growth Western Hemlocks in the immediate area outside the Olympic National Park. Our tree sits, waiting for you to visit, in its own little grove on the western edge of our property. This tree, measuring 7.5 feet through the base at shoulder height, has a circumference of about 23 feet. By comparison, the oldest Western Hemlock thus far measured was 9 ft through the base, about 28 feet in circumference, and estimated to be just under 1500 years old. It’s hard to make an accurate comparison, but using the known areas of both trees at the base combined with some hand-waving math we estimate our tree to be 1000 -1100 years old. Probably alive at the Battle of Hastings, so old enough.
Like many truly old creatures, our tree remains alive today due in part to good luck and the “dodging of bullets”. It sits just feet away from commercial forestland, and except for that, would long ago have become an anonymous part of some building. However, this good fortune had a considerable downside as the logging of trees to its west exposed it to high winter winds, making it very likely that, due to its size, it would eventually have become a “blow-down”. But good luck intervened again: long-time residents in the area tell us that in the 1960s, a storm blew out just the top of the tree, greatly reducing its wind-profile and thus its chances of blowing down.
We’ve cleared out a quiet little grove for folks to come and visit this venerable giant.
You don’t have to stay with us to be very welcome to stop by. It’s not a Sequoia, and, hence, will not utterly dwarf you with its size. However, the closer you get, the more you feel the looming presence of this impressive creature.