Summer is slowly ending, and people have started venturing outside a little more. It is only natural to go out and explore a bit as the weather cools down. If you have been on a hike around the forest, you have probably come across bent trees before. They are very strange and are usually said to be one of nature’s hidden secrets. According to the national American Forests website, bent trees are a clear Native American trail markers. Indians used to strap the trees down and allow them to grow so the bend became permanent.

The site also goes on to explain that this method was popular with Native American tribes all across the land, and that the form has stuck around years after the trees were bent as saplings: “Native Americans would bend young trees to create permanent trail markers, designating safe paths through rough country and pointing travelers toward water, food or other important landmarks. Over the years, the trees have grown, keeping their original shape, but with their purpose all but forgotten as modern life sprang up around them.”

Mountain Stewards

But not all bent trees are pointers toward a certain direction. Most of the bent trees you see while exploring the great outdoors are nature’s doing. The difference between the natural trees and those made by Native Americans? Most of the trees that were bent by men have a noticeable nose, or notch that juts out at the end of the bend. This was created by inserting a piece of the tree into a hole and allowing the tree to grow around it.

In addition to the nose, there’s another small detail that can help you differentiate between the naturally bent trees and man-made markers. If you look at the top part of the inner bed, you will be able to see scars from where the straps were placed when the trees were young! Sadly, these trail marker trees are 150 to 200 years old, meaning their lifespan is coming to end.

Mountain Stewards

That is why the Mountain Stewards website was created. The site has mapped out more than 1,000 bent trees all over the country and documented exactly where they were. Let’s hope everyone goes to see these incredible bits of history before they are gone forever!

Watch a real-life bent tree in Georgia in the video below and share what you think in the comments section!

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