The World's Largest Known Myrtle Tree

Trip Start May 04, 2010
Trip End May 21, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Thursday, May 13, 2010


-      Finding one of the world’s largest known myrtle trees you would think would be fairly easy.  Approximately 88 feet tall, 42 feet in circumference and its canopy is nearly 70 feet wide. It truly is unique as it grows only along the northern coast of California and southwestern Oregon.  We were told by the lodge staff that the road leading to it was closed.  Disappointed, we opted to go to the Shrader Old-Growth Trail yesterday.  However, on that side of the river (opposite of the lodge), we saw a sign for the Myrtle Tree Trail.  We crossed over the one lane bridge over the Rogue River, saw the road closed sign and took the gravel road up the hill.  After several miles, we concluded that access must have been in the closed section of the road.   We did one of those K turns you learn in driver’s school but don’t get to practice much with a sharp drop off into the forest and a mountain on the other side of the road.  Back at the lodge we spoke to another guest who told us they had found it by turning right on to a small gravel road just after crossing the bridge.  "You can’t miss it" he said.  We decided to give it another go today.  We retrace our steps on Jerry’s Flat Road from Gold Beach, see the sign for the Myrtle Tree, cross the one lane bridge to our left and then make an immediate right onto the gravel road.  We follow it for quite some time and conclude that we must have missed it. Yep, “you can’t miss it” is our travel specialty!  Retracing our steps, we notice a pickup truck parked on the side and we stop to see if this is our place.  Sure enough, hidden off the side of the road is the trail marker for the Myrtlewood Grove Area!  We pick up a gold guide to the Myrtle Tree Trail.  We read the driving directions and this says “cross the bridge over the Rogue River and turn right on Silver Creek Road, FS Road #3533. “  It’s one of those “you can’t miss it” directions, but of course there is no sign to know it is Silver Creek Road.  We got to drive on some gravel roads in the forest and that was cool, even though I got some pits in my stomach when I saw the drop-offs (no guard rails on forest service roads!).  But persistence paid off and as we approach the old myrtle and hear the sound of the nearby stream it is all worth it.  Quite an unusual specimen with multiple trunks and a burnt out base covered with moss. 

      An interesting encounter.  For a tree hugger like me to listen to someone who worked in logging and is now in a wood processing plant talk about how logging has changed was really interesting.  That he himself was visiting this old growth myrtle and like us and was taking photos and spend time sitting under it set the stage for recognition of common concerns.  People from rural southeast Oregonians, Brits and Texans.  People we’ve met today at breakfast and on the trail - from different areas of the world.  Talking. Listening.  Discussing.  Sharing.  See things from other’s perspectives.  


      Sitting on the balcony of our room, listening to an Adyanshanti guided meditation for the second day in a row.  I’m hopeful that I can make this a steady consistent practice.  After the 30 minute meditation, I put on some zen flute music and gazed at the river.  Sublime.

      Coming back to our room, starting the fire and sitting by its glow and listening to its crackle.
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