Raiders of the lost bark
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Posted by: Dana Walker
Tree-ring researchers are used to rough conditions — but they’re not survivalists. Fortunately,
Nicole Davi had already taken shooting lessons when she found herself stuck without provisions in the heart of the largest national park in the United States: Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias.
As part of a research team sampling ancient trees, the stranding was intentional. Letting their bush pilot fly off with the green duffel bags full of supplies rather than the green duffel bags full of tree slices, however, was not. “We didn’t have food, but we had shotguns,” Davi recalls. “Our mission became to find and core trees… and shoot anything that looked edible.”
The researchers spent three days in the wilderness, extracting foot-and-a-half-long, pencil-thin rods from trees and living on peanuts, grouse and rabbits — an experience that taught Davi that the thrills of fieldwork come at a cost. Ever since then, she says, she’s never traveled without a satellite phone.