Across the US, you might have once come across a tree that was oddly shaped and looked like it didn’t naturally grow that way. Bent trees could easily be just nature’s work, but if you stop and look closely, you might find out a magic secret of the forest – these trees could be some of the ones which were actually bent by Native Americans who used them as permanent trail markers. The trees were used for designing safe paths that would lead toward landmarks, food or water sources. More than that, these trees were also used for finding medicinal plants and even holy grounds.
Nowadays, if you find a tree that was actually bent by humans, you’ll discover that these trees have grown a lot in time, and just imagine the amazing stories that they have to tell. Where did those people want to go? Why did they choose those paths? Did they ever get to the destination? It’s amazing to think about what the trees were used for.
You might be wondering how to spot one of these trees to make sure that they’re actually the real deal. In nature, we can also find trees that bent because of natural causes, such as the soil, strong winds, storms or even heavy snow. Some other trees just grow this way because they are actually looking for the best place to grow, many times towards a source of light – trees need their photosynthesis, so they’re doing their best to adjust their growth towards the best light source.
With all the modern life that has sprung around these trees, we might be looking at something that’s really unique, with a life span that might unfortunately soon come to an end. Some of the trees are 150 to 200 years old, and many of them are threatened by massive land clearings. Many groups are currently working on preserving these mystical trail trees, one of them already having a database which contains more than a thousand of these trees which can be found across 39 states.
One of the most fascinating thing about these trees is that each tribe had their own ‘tree design’. Yes, the practice used by each tribe was different, each having different markers. Have you ever thought that one of these trees could be found even in your backyard? If you’re wondering how to spot this kind of bent tree, take a look at our tips on how to know exactly if the bent tree grew that way naturally, or if it was the work of someone who wanted it to really mean something for the people around them.
Seeing a bent tree does not necessarily mean that it was grown this way by people. Read more
This type of tree looks like it has naturally grown that way, so this is not the type of tree we are looking for right now. Since there was no electricity or many ways to communicate, Native Americans found a really intelligent way to make the most out of the gifts of the forest – they discovered how to make a special sign for their tribes, by creating marker trees. Since all they had to depend upon was nature, this was a great idea that would become a universal sign among different Native American tribes.