The remaining trunk of the Golden Spruce barely hangs over the Yakoun River after the top 20 or 30 feet disappeared in December, likely swept away by high water. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

The remaining trunk of the Golden Spruce barely hangs over the Yakoun River after the top 20 or 30 feet disappeared in December, likely swept away by high water. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Fallen Golden Spruce sheds its top

Joan Hein noticed something amiss when she walked the Golden Spruce trail in mid-December.

“When we looked looked across to where the Golden Spruce should be, something was wrong,” she said.

But Hein forgot all about the feeling until a few weeks ago, when Dale Lore phoned to say the top 20 or 30 feet of the Golden Spruce had disappeared.

Felled by Grant Hadwin in 1997, the Golden Spruce, Kiidk’yaas, had long since died and lost its golden needles.

But residents who walked the trail outside Port Clements still recognized the top of its trunk, which hung over the far side of the Yakoun River.

Lore said the treetop most likely broke off and swept away in the Yakoun during some extraordinarily heavy rains last fall.

“We’re probably best off assuming it was just high water,” he said, adding that the section was too narrow to be milled for anything.

Hein agrees, but she and Lore found it strange that around the same time, someone had clearly used a machine on the accessible side of the river to shift part of an old-growth log. Located just before the end of the trail, it had already been cut in two sections to allow the trail to go through and reach a look-out spot on the river bank.

Lore wondered if perhaps the river flooded its banks and the high water shifted the stump end of the log so that it was partly blocking the trail again.

However, he said neither the village, B.C. Parks, or the Council of the Haida Nation knows of anyone doing that sort of trail maintenance, and judging by the marks left in the soil, it’s not clear that the log was ever blocking the crushed-gravel trail.

If anyone happens to know the answer to the mysteriously spinning log at the end of the Golden Spruce trail, feel free to give the Observer a call at 250-626-9150.

Port Clements