Walking in the Cathedral of Tamaracks

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Hunting | No Comments


Living in Ruffed Grouse Country we sometimes take for granted the magic in these great Northwoods. Take the tamarack, for example. A pine tree that changes color in the fall and loses it’s needles. It’s a wonder to walk through, needles gently cascading off my shoulders as I make my way. It’s part of what makes grouse hunting unique.

A tamarack bog in the summer

A Tree Like Few Others

A deciduous conifer, the tamarack is a member of the Larch species. They grow from Northern Minnesota up to the arctic circle. They are a pioneering species, inhabiting bogs that dry up or fire-burned landscapes. They love the sun and thrive in peat bogs. The wood is resistant to rot, and has been used in ship building in the sailing era and corduroy roads as well. Native peoples used it for a variety of purposes, and the word tamarack is Algonquian for “wood used for snowshoes.”  The sap and inner bark can be eaten or brewed as a medicine. Decoys for waterfowl can even be made from it.


The Tamarack As Our Companion

For me, it’s a tree of the wild places. The places far from roads that take some boot leather and sweat to reach. Places where the only sounds are the wind and my dog’s bell. The golden needles seem so delicate, the tamarack remind me of the interior of the great cathedrals. Tall and airy, light and full of color. Walk through a narrow trail in the tamaracks, and you will see what I mean.


By Joel Schnell

Posted June 28, 2016.

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Joel Schnell is publisher of www.ruffedgrouseminnesota.com
He can be reached at info[at]ruffedgrouseminnesota.com

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