Greetings and welcome to everybody's favorite tree identification game: "Name! That! Tree!"
But first, the fine print!
I used leaves/leaf shapes to identify these trees, if you are hunting this cache after the leaves have fallen it will be significantly more difficult to identify the trees and the pictures provided in the Tree Identification Guide on this page will be of little use. If you are not a tree guru, I would suggest waiting until the leaves return in the spring or research identifying trees based on bark or some other non-leaf means. The producers debated marking this cache with the 'Not Available in Winter' attribute, but technically it still should be possible. Bump this up to a difficulty of 5 (special equipment required - arborist ) if hunting when trees have no leaves.
As the next contestant you will be visiting 6 different waypoints along a trail in Conway Robinson Memorial State Forest and attempt to identify a tree at each location. The course will send you on a well defined trail, with the trail head to the right side of the parking area - located at Tree A. Expect a 1.5 to 2 mile round trip hike, although you could easily return to the loop trail from the final location and continue around to see the rest of Conway Robinson. The six tree waypoints are along the path, the final location is a bit off the beaten path.
Of course, in the middle of a forest it would be difficult to determine the exact tree to identify, but our lovely producers have thought of everything and chosen trees with identifiable markings detailed in the waypoint descriptions. Once you arrive at each waypoint, you must read the description for that tree to determine which specific tree to identify, and then pick it out of the list under the Tree Identification Guide below.
Armed only with the information (and pictures) on this cache page, you most likely stand a good chance of successfully knowing your trees. But it wouldn't hurt to do some further research before hitting the forest.
N 38° 48.ABC W 077° 35.DEF
The trees to identify are the six Question to Answer waypoints on this cache named Tree A through Tree F. When you arrive at each tree, find its listing in the Tree Identification Guide (the second list on this page) and plug that tree's number into the puzzle coordinates. For example, if the first tree (A) is a Red Maple you would know that A = 7 and your updated puzzle coordinates would be N 38° 48.7BC W 077° 35.DEF
Please be sure to rehide the cache as found and so that it's not visible.
Tree Identification Guide
(If you paperless cache, but your GPSr doesn't show images, it's strongly suggested to print this cache page.)
The Sassafras tree is unusual in having three distinct leaf shapes on the same plant. The roots of the sassafras tree can be steeped to make tea and were used in the flavoring of root beer until being banned by the FDA. Laboratory animals that were given oral doses of sassafras tea or sassafras oil that contained safrole developed permanent liver damage or various types of cancer. In humans liver damage can take years to develop and it may not have obvious signs.
2: White Oak
The White Oak is the official state tree of Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland. Being the subject of a legend as old as the colony itself, the Charter Oak of Hartford, Connecticut is one of the most famous white oaks in America. The tree now makes up the reverse side of the Connecticut state quarter.
The Redbud tree is a small tree with thick, spreading branches and often a twisted trunk. Also known as the Judas tree, according to legend, Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a branch of the European species Cercis siliquastrum.
The Sweetgum tree is a deciduous tree native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America. A popular ornamental tree in North America, it is recognizable from its combination of five-pointed star-shaped leaves and spiked fruit.
From the U.S. Forestry Service pamphlet on "Important Trees of Eastern Forests", "there are some woods that are stronger than hickory and some that are harder, but the combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness found in hickory wood is not found in any other commercial wood." As such, hickory is used for tool handles, drum sticks, and many other applications where strength and durability are of concern. Hickory wood is also a preferred type for smoke curing meats. In the Southern United States, hickory is popular for cooking barbecue, as hickory grows abundantly in the region, and adds flavor to the meat.
6: Red Cedar
The Red Cedar has reddish-brown, fibrous bark that peels off in narrow strips. The leaves are tightly adpressed and scale-like on the adult tree.
7: Red Maple
Red Maple, also known as Swamp or Soft Maple, is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern North America. Its name is due to its brilliant scarlet fall foliage color.
8: Yellow Poplar
The Yellow Poplar (American tulip tree) is one of the largest of the native trees of the eastern United States, known to reach the height of 190 feet (58 m), with a trunk 10 feet (3 m) in diameter; its ordinary height is 70 feet (21 m) to 100 feet (30 m). It prefers deep, rich, and rather moist soil; it is common, though not abundant, nor is it solitary. Its roots are fleshy. Growth is fairly rapid, and the typical form of its head is conical.
9: Red Oak
The Red Oak is one of the most important oaks for timber production in North America with wood of high value.
A final note: I did my best to properly ID all of the trees and picked six trees that are fairly distinctive from one another, especially in terms of leaf shape, just in case I wasn't batting 1000. If you notice I misidentified any of the trees, please let me know and I'll update the cache listing.
Much of the text in the tree identification guide was taken from wikipedia.
You can double check your result on Geochecker.com.
Voted NOVAGO's Best Mystery/Puzzle Cache for 2009!