New angles on Tʼóokʼ dleit ḵaadí, nettle snowslide (Behrends Slide)
Late September, 2020 It’s probably time we stopped calling this Behrends Slide. Nothing against ole BM, who like my father’s father hailed from Germany, via black-earth eastern Nebraska (thus gave up farming for banking?). Surely though, this amazing avalanche chute has a lost Lingít name. It probably resembled the name for another slide zone south of town. Dzisk’w liu ḵaadí, little owl slide—no doubt for the pygmy, saw-whet and screech owls who prey on abundant deer mice in the alder jungles. As I relate on pages 7 to 13 of Why do we live here, this slide is an awesome place to gather tʼóokʼ, stinging nettle—and probably has been for many generations extending far back beyond our Euro gold town.
Last time I posted on Nettle Slide was early April, 2013, after a thundering snow avalanche swept partway down both access roads. Today, my mission wasn’t tʼóokʼ but trees. Or, truth be told, rather geeky experiment with a new way of depicting em. Flying a super-low, pre-programmed grid mission from only 46 feet AGL (above ground level) I stitched 41 nadir (straight-down) overlapping images into a quarter-inch-pixel orthophoto (spatially ‘pinned’ photomap). From photo triangulation, a digital elevation model (DEM) can also be created, in a process called Structure From Motion (SFM). This is illustrated in the video below.
But mostly, the slideshow’s about a pair of trees towering far above my micrographic mapping project. The Brave Outlier is a massive spruce who stands alone, well out into the slide path that otherwise holds only rubber-stemmed keishísh (slide or Sitka alders, Alnus viride). For quite awhile I’ve intended to ‘climb’ it with the drone. That’s hard to do with a typical forest giant, cause gps-fixes are hard to come by deep under canopy, and if you do manage to slip up through a canopy gap, finding your way back down is nerve-wracking.
The other venerable tree in lower Tʼóokʼ dleit ḵaadí is Eaglenest Hemlock, for generations she’s been a palatial home to chʼáakʼ, bald eagles, an alpha mated pair, lords of northwestern Dzantik’i Héeni. For the past decade or so, its uppermost ‘nest-roof’ branches have been dying, I know not why. I’d never consider approaching this nest when occupied, but by late September, young are fledged and gone. In the video pass, check out that jungle of elderberry, dangling from chʼáakʼ-poo midden.