Our second stop is next to a huge pine tree, Maine’s state tree. The white pine is a magnificent tree with a history as long as its trunk. To start, pine trees are some of the oldest trees in Maine. Many, like this one, have huge trunks that show just how long they’ve been around. This tree’s diameter is over ten feet!

Once you have marveled at its size, look closely at the tree about 10 feet up. You’ll notice that the main trunk splits into four large forks, each as big as another tree’s trunk. When the tree was about ten feet tall, hundreds of years ago, a white pine weevil ate the sapling’s terminal leader (the topmost shoot). When the terminal leader of a white pine is damaged, the tree continues to grow from the next living whorl of branches, which led to the growth of four separate trunks. You can estimate at what age this happened by seeing where the tree splits into four parts. Each foot equals about one year’s growth.

Pine trees have a rich history in the state of Maine. They were originally coveted as ships’ masts since because were so tall and flexible. In fact, pines were so desirable that the King of England sent people to claim trees for the Royal Navy. They carved a king’s cross into the bark to ensure no one else would take the tree. Fascinating!

As you walk down the next stretch of trail, keep an eye out for other large pine trees and look for the split around 10 feet high. You’ll notice it in most of the big pines!