European Beech

January 13, 2012 Shelley Nielsen ExplorationHardwood & SoftwoodShelley's Articles

Denmark Post Christmas 2011 (3)

Fagus sylvatica, the European beech or common beech, is a deciduous tree belonging to the beech family Fagacaea.  It has a natural range extending from southern Sweden though to central Italy, west to France, northern Portugal and central Spain.  Although oft regarded as a native in southern England, recent evidence suggests it did not reach here after until after the English Channel was formed in the ice ages.

It is a large tree, capable of reaching heights of up to 49 m and 3 m trunk diameter.  It has a typical lifespan of 150 to 200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years. The appearance varies according to its habitat and forest conditions; it tends to have a long, slender light-gray trunk with a narrow crown and erect branches; in isolation with good side light, the trunk is short with a large and widely spreading crown with very long branches.

The leaves of beech are often not dropped in the autumn and instead remain on the tree until the spring. This particularly occurs when trees are are clipped as a hedge (as commonly seen in Denmark).


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Danny’s Summer Camping Trip – Tahsish River (Kyuquot Sound)

November 22, 2011 West Wind ExplorationStaff

Danny’s philosophy must be ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’.

The Tahsish River in Kyuquot Sound is one of those wild places I’ve always dreamed of visiting. This  place is truly wild and untouched. Life goes on here as it has for thousands of years.  The Tahsish River estuary was the site of a historic first nations village; used only during the salmon season. We spent a week exploring Kyuquot Sound, Tahsish & Kwois Rvers by canoe; in my opinion, the best way of seeing the area. The canoe allowed us to get ridiculously close to all kinds of wildlife. In fact, you name it and we saw it; even the most elusive of creatures, the cougar! Having encountered one of the most seldom seen beasts of the continent face to face is an experience that will remain with me for life.

The park includes some amazing old growth forest, river and valleys, and lakes. Of course, we were blessed with the usual wet coast weather – rain, fog and a bit of sun!  Despite the rain we were kept busy picking berries and other wild edibles, all while keeping a close eye on our backs!  There was a bit of adjustment needed after coming back from this adventure… in realizing things aren’t as simple as they were on this trip.


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