Missy and I did another road trip this weekend… 20 hours and 591 miles… with Wesley… specifically to go see this tree. The unofficial story behind the tree goes something like this…
Back in 1850 a surveyor cut a cottonwood sprout to use as a walking stick, later planting it in the ground to mark a section corner. The roads were no doubt not there in 1850, but since roads are commonly laid out along section lines, the tree ended up in the intersection. Why the tree was allowed to stay is a mystery, but allowed to stay it was.
It grew into the massive tree that still stands there today. The trunk is roughly 12 feet in diameter. There are no markers, no signs directing you to it, but it is not all that hard to find. I will say that the quality of the roads are questionable, though, especially after a rain and doubly especially after a rain and at 3:30 am. It is at the intersection of 350th Street and Nighthawk Avenue, on the county line that separates Cass and Audubon Counties. It’s also only about an 1/8 of a mile from I-80, and Nighthawk Avenue crosses the interstate, but there is no interchange. You cannot see it from the interstate, though, as there is a hill in the way.
As far as layout, it is not conducive to good composure for photography. We made an effort to get there before sunrise, not really knowing what we would find, and I got some decent shots, but nothing that really wowed me. This shot was done with my 15mm rectilinear fish-eye lens. It has the obvious curved perspective, which in this case I kind of like, so I left that part alone. It helps add a sense of presence and location that is otherwise missed with “normal” lenses that I also used. With this shot you really can see that the tree is truly in the middle of the intersection.
I’m going to have to think about this location and the shots I took for awhile. I may decide to re-visit some more shots and thoughts here in the future. And, please feel free to leave some feedback. I’d be interested in your thoughts and perspective.