Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Hanging Tree revisited

In response to my earlier post, "The Hanging Tree, continued," Mike Bornia sent the photos above and writes,...
"I am a Docent for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, the managing organization for the area where Hangman's Tree is located. I first became aware of this tree and plaque from a guest on one of my hikes this past Saturday. A subsequent online search for information brought me to this great local history blog. This morning Dave, our public programs director, and I went to the Hangman's Tree location. Please note that this is private property and legal access must be through the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.
"From the access road we hiked down to the plaque. From that location the actual tree is to the left. The stand of sycamores are in a gully, about 20-30 feet below ground level from where I was standing. The area is also overgrown with black mustard and milk thistle which stand about eight feet tall, further obscuring the trees.
"We hiked down to the bottom of the gully and turned left to view the Hangman's Tree which had some superficial scorch marks from the fire last October. There is also an active bee hive in the tree. I took several pictures of the tree and of the actual branch which I will send to Chris Jepsen. The tree is remarkably in good condition considering its age.
"We have decided to add this location to our public programs and will also visit the nearby 1965 crash site of a military transport which took off from El Toro in heavy fog and failed to clear Loma Ridge. Seventy-two Marines and 12 crew perished. The location still has aircraft remnants. The hike to these two locations will be available in a few months. Please check our website for information on our hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian outings."
Thanks, Mike! You've done some great sleuthing and you'll be providing a really great service to those of us who want to see these historically significant sites. Hope I can join you on one of your upcoming hiking tours.


itsnotaplace said...

That is very cool to find out the tree still exists and survived the fires!

I wonder why the marker is as far from the tree as it is. Does the marker indicate the direction to the tree or does it seem to indicate that the marker IS supposed to be the location of the tree?

Mike B said...

The marker overlooks the line of sycamores and is placed to be easily spotted. If the marker was placed next to the tree (in the gully), it would not be visible from the hillside.

The tree itself is unique with it's long branch parallel to the ground, so there's no mistaking it.