Close encounter with a tree today

So I’m paddling up the St Joseph river today along the river’s edge and I hear a strange sound as I pass some trees and about 15 seconds later there’s a huge noise and I watch a tree fall straight into the river maybe 80 feet behind me. I get hit by the wave it makes. I watched it start it’s journey towards Lake Michigan (about 5 miles to go). When I got home my wife asked if I heard the tree fall in the woods.


I’ve been out a couple of times when trees were coming down. Leaves you wondering What If …

I’ve had a couple of those moments. The natural world can be very random.

I can confirm that when a tree falls in the woods or your back yard if you can hear it makes a sound. This happened a couple days ago.

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Wet ground and high winds are a good time to stay out of the woods. We have 9 100 feet tall Loblolly Pines scheduled to be removed . Any of them could hit the house if they fall. They would go all the way to the ground if they did hit the house.

Glad you only heard it, rather than felt it…

The vagaries of life, huh… :slight_smile: :crossed_fingers:t4:


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This one came down in a wind and rain storm and could have been much worse. I had just built a covered pergola for the hot tub and it saved the tub and deck from worse damage. I called the insurance and they said they would be out the next morning. The rain stopped about 20 minutes after the tree fell so I grabbed my pole chain saw and started clearing the limbs from the house. The neighbor grabbed his saw and started working on his side and then another neighbor who heats with wood showed up as he felt it at his place and we asked him if he wanted the wood. He came back with his tractor and trailer and saw and went to work. Five hours later there was no sign of the tree ever falling and the next day the insurance guy shows up and says where the heck is the tree? Luckly I had some photos. He was amazed and said first time he ever saw one removed so fast. They paid for all the damage and also 16 hours labor for tree removal.

We were in the kitchen watching the storm out that window when it fell. Talk about needing to change your pants.

Trees are nothing to mess around with as the picture shows that tree had fallen years earlier in the other direction, half of it and being on the neighbors property they loved the tree and wanted to leave the half that was left keep growing. It seemed to be doing fine. Right after this happened they had several others taken down close to their house.

I have seen lots of them in the river but was never there when one fell.

I’ve always had a concern about those waterlogged trees on your paddling journeys. Glad it missed you.

I’m a bit of a nervous Nellie about them, having seen so many claimed by the water on the lake where I live. One wasn’t even in the water - just close to the shore and down it went with a crash and splash.

@rival51 - yes it does make you ponder fate

@string - I paddled under the same tree the day before (it was on the inside of a bend) and the day before was very windy but it was calm the day it fell. I’ve seen trees fall on calm days before.

@castoff and bud - congrats on the near miss. We’ve had a number of trees fall very close to the house and destroy a deck one time.

@sing - it made me think that it probably took the tree 1 or 2 seconds to fall so even if you were right in the wrong spot you might be able to backpaddle or accelerate…provided you made the right decision promptly.

@rookie - I thought of you and your comment. This tree was only leaning maybe 10 or 15 degrees max, not even suspicious with so many trees leaning much more. If I paddle up the middle of the St Joseph where it’s safe from trees the current pretty much grinds me up and kicks my butt.

Grand Sycamores with twisting roots long stood their ground to river.
But ebb and flow of bank deposit has a high mighty deliver,
from tilted view that bears reflection of summer’s glimmered crown,
that one last bow toward icy depths in which all that’s mortal drowns.

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I often wonder when these will come down - hopefully I’m not under it. This was last year.

Blackstone Arch - still standing

This was 2013.


Blackstone River at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA. I paddle there often.

I’d clear that arch at max speed.

Yep. When they lean and hold each other up it sure seems unstable.

The ones that make me a little nervous are the ones that have already fallen that I have to duck to get under. I try not to bump even small branches because if the tree settles again you’re squished for sure.

It was windy here yesterday and I was paddling along and heard a sharp cracking noise from a tree right as I was passing it and I looked over and saw that it was a relatively small branch falling. Scared the bejeebers out of me.

Doesn’t take much of a branch falling from a tall tree to ruin your day. Makes lakes a more friendly venue.

We can talk. I was recently walking a trail in the woods; a swampy area. I hear a cracking sound and a big tree falls. Luckily it fell away from me. You’d think that kind of thing would happen on a really windy day. Naw. It was calm. I noticed that a beaver had done a lot of chewing on it.

Sweepers are the most dangerous trees around.
Eroding banks cause trees to fall around rivers all the time.