Friday, November 2, 2012

Tamaracks in Idaho

These rare pine trees turn brilliant yellow for about two weeks, and then the winds blow
 the needles off. They are called Subalpine Larch or Tamarack.

They are called Subalpine Larch or Tamara Tamarack Larch, or Tamarack, or Hackmatack, or American Larch. The tamarack is not an evergreen. The bark is tight and flaky, pink, but under flaking bark it can appear reddish. The leaves are needle-like, 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) short, light blue-green, turning bright yellow before they fall in the autumn, leaving the pale pinkish-brown shoots bare until the next spring. The needles are produced spirally on long shoots and in dense clusters on long woody spur shoots. The cones are the smallest of any larch, only 1–2.3 cm (0.4–0.9 in) long, with 12-25 seed scales; they are bright red , turning brown and opening to release the seeds when mature, 4–6 months after pollination.

 The name Tamarack is thAlgonquian name for the species and means "wood used for snowshoes".
The wood is tough and durable, but also flexible in thin strips, and was used by the Algonquian people for making snowshoes and other products where toughness was required. The natural crooks located in the stumps and roots are also preferred for creating knees in wooden boats. Tamarack poles were used in corduroy roads because of their resistance to rot. Currently, the wood is used principally for pulpwood, but also for posts, poles, rough lumber, and fuel wood. Wildlife use the tree for food and nesting.

Tamarack larch foliage and cones

Sorry these photos below were taken with my photo. Of course this is the only trip I have not had my camera with me.
I took a drive with Jack and Teresa up through Council (Where Teresa grew up from about seven years of age all the way through her high school years.), Tamarack, New Meadows, McCall, Cascade. A very large loop.
We saw the mountains full of the bright yellow Tamarack trees. I didn't even know were there.
These photos don't really do it justice but I hope you can see the beauty.

 The old train station in New Meadows, Idaho.
Saw these on the drive up to Brundage Ski Resort in McCall, Idaho. A gorgeous drive.
Located high in the mountains of Central Idaho, Brundage Mountain is best known for its powder-packed glades and luxuriously wide groomed runs. Blessed with over 320 base area inches of snowfall annually, Brundage has an undisputed reputation for the Best Snow in Idaho™.

Taken overlooking Payette Lake in McCall. I love the reflection of the mountain side in the lake.