Grab My Stick | Let's Go Cruisin'
In Wisconsin, United States
How Geocaching Works
A long time ago, my good friend QWERTY and I were studying the effects of the industrial revolution on the Black Forests of Germany. Part of that class included a lesson on Cruisin. No, not the kind where you roll down your window and crank the Beastie Boys. The Cruisin I'm talking about is the kind that involves estimating merchantable board feet from standing trees. To that ends we were asked to create a "cruising stick" of our own. As is turns out, Bill and I were the only 2 students to take the task seriously and in the end we came in first and second place for favorite stick. When I recently rediscovered it, I thought it would be nice to get this nostalgic stick back in action as it's just been collecting dust. Here's your chance to learn how to cruise.
The "Biltmore stick" or cruiser stick is an ingenious device used in cruising and measuring trees and logs and to estimate lumber. It was developed around the turn of the century based on a principle of similar triangles. It is graduated for direct readings of tree diameters and heights. The stick allows you to measure the diameter at a point 4.5 feet above stump height and also the merchantable height in terms of 8- or 16-foot logs from a distance of one chain (66 feet). With these two measurements, the board foot volume of the tree may be determined. The actual volume table is printed on the stick, but is not printed on my version. For Cruisin the width increments begin at 6" and run through 30" with added points for 32, 34 and 36". Tree height corresponds to 8' sections.
Stand squarely in front of the tree and hold Cruisin with it's face flat against tree and in a horizontal position at right angles to your line of sight. The stick must be held against the tree at diameter breast height (a spot 4.5 feet above the stump height is referred to as"dbh") at a predetermined distance (25") from the observer's eye. Read the diameter starting at the first tic mark at 6" Tics are placed in increments of 2 inches. Because of the difficulty maintaining exact distance and keeping the stick in the absolute vertical or horizontal, it must be regarded as a fairly crude measuring device. The cruising stick is handy for quick estimates but is not generally used by foresters for generating precise cruise data. Cruisin is perhaps less accurate than a commercially available stick but will prove accurate enough to make the correct estimates for this puzzle.
Because the referenced template only estimates to the nearest 16' foot log, you will only need to estimate full 16-foot log sections with a small end diameter of 10" or larger. Estimating gets a little loose when you begin working around crooks of trees or main branching, but for the purpose of this exercise, lets assume there's a solid trunk to the point where the main trunk gets smaller that 10' in diameter. So, for example, if you are estimating logs and see a crotch at say 24' up the tree, just assume that log is good until you hit the 32' or "2-16 foot logs" mark. At that point, see if you can get another full 16' log with a minimum diameter of 10" on the narrow end.
Park in the North most lot. At this waypoint, you will see a row of trees by a filed stone wall. You will be cruising 2 of the tallest trees in this row. Add the estimated board feet of the eastern most tree, the last in this line which I think is a Chestnut, to N44°09.000. Add the estimated board feet of the largest in this line, a Pin Oak, to W088°16.000 to get your final coordinates.
UPDATE 5.15.09: Updated the clue slightly. Also, having witnessed the first attempt on the calculation I am also adding the following. 1. Do your best to attain 25" from your eyes to the tree and do not move your head, just your eyes when sighting the edges of the tree bark. If you know you have short arms, stretch. 2. The diameter measurements for both trees will end in the same digit.
UPDATE 5.18.09: It was discovered that the numbers for a 24" diameter tree are incorrect on the linked Biltmore template. Since that number is not needed, you can simply ignore that misprint of a smaller diameter column repeat.
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The Geocache Notification Form has been submitted to the High Cliff State Park Geocache Liaison, Jay Vosters, of the Wisconsin DNR.
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Last Updated: on 1/2/2013 4:28:15 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (12:28 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum