Nowadays, technology has made navigation a breeze. Our lives are made easier by countless apps and gadgets. However, have you ever wondered how people in the past found their way through thick forests without the help of maps or GPS? The answer lies in the remarkable ingenuity of Native American tribes who relied on a unique method – bending trees.
Discovering Ancient Trails
Native Americans achieved this incredible feat by inserting a piece of a tree into a hole and allowing it to grow around that inserted section. The result? Trees with distinctive bends, easily recognizable even after centuries. While some trees in the wild may have irregular shapes due to nature’s whims, the bent trees have peculiar features that give away their man-made origin… like a noticeable nose or a noticeable notch at the end of the bend.
Beyond these distinct features, one can also identify trail markers left by indigenous people through the scars that remain from the straps that were used to secure the trees when they were young. These scars are further proof of the ingenious way Native Americans marked their paths.
Living Historical Monuments
These remarkable trail markers have stood the test of time, with some of them dating back over 150 to 200 years. They served as guideposts for Native Americans, pointing the way through rough terrain, leading travelers to water, food, and other significant landmarks.
Many of these trees have grown into old, gnarled giants, silently bearing witness to the rich history they helped shape. While we no longer rely on these “trail trees” for navigation, their significance as living reminders of our collective past cannot be ignored. Just imagine the stories they could tell.
Preserving our Living History
To ensure the protection and preservation of these remarkable trees, the Mountain Stewards website was created. The site has meticulously mapped out over 1,000 bent trees across the country, carefully documenting their locations. This valuable resource allows us to appreciate and learn from these living pieces of history.
Delve Deeper into History
To dive deeper into this captivating historical fact and explore the vast array of bent trees scattered across America, watch the video below. If you found this article fascinating, be sure to share it with your family and friends on Facebook. Let’s spread knowledge and appreciation for our rich heritage.