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  • James Neal

DeKovend Park | The Cottonwood Conundrum

A little bit of chess and another long walk through the park.

I visited another park in the Denver area. I chose deKoevend park because it was close and its vastness would increase my chances of finding something interesting. I recently bought myself a fitness watch to ensure I was optimizing my health. I played in an online tournament shortly after the purchase and my enhanced hydration resulted in an outstanding performance. I won 3 out of 4 games with the loss coming in the final round after our team had clinched the match.


The first thing I saw deKoevend park was a massive tree.


I took a picture of me holding the water bottle (32oz) and the same water bottle wedged into the tree to give you an idea of its size. Along the trip, I watched water move along the creeks and took a few shots of some conifers. The walk was nice but it did not appear as though I would find anything interesting UNTIL I was circling back and stumbled upon a fallen tree.

It was one of those massive trees I had taken a picture of earlier. What would cause this tree to fall? I checked one of the branches to find out there was sap running through this tree. They must have placed the cones earlier in the year. The cones could have been placed much earlier because the human traffic would have provoked a curious pedestrian to displace one of these cones. I would estimate these cones to be placed within 3 months. Maybe the tree was leaning and it was just a matter of time before it snapped; seeing that tree fall would have made a fine scene.

I removed my tablet from my bag and searched for my tree book. I knew from my recent experience, I needed to leaf to identify the tree. My educated guess is the fallen tree was a Rio Grande Cottonwood. The book used ‘massive’ to describe the tree’s trunk. I saw a lot of holes within the tree and something looked a little strange about its base not to mention the odor of the tree as I got closer. If it were termites, it could have been the pacific coast termite but since they eat rotten wood that would mean the tree had been dying for quite a while. Maybe the infestation of termites could have lead to the trees collapse? I took a picture of stripped bark and saw holes similar to that of a tree boring insect. It might not be termites since the paths look too random. It could been a tree boring insect but that would only confirm the tree was dying since both creatures are considered secondary invaders.

Ugh! This is too complicated! I am going to play chess…

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