The Story of SunnaHae and The Ancient Spruce
A towering giant Sitka dropped it’s seed onto the side of a moss covered mountain named SunnaHae. It was here on the side of SunnaHae that our “Ancient” tree would lay it’s roots for the following 250 years.
SunnaHae is located on a large Island named “Prince of Wales” which lies directly north of Haida Gwaii and is in fact the closest land mass or neighbour to my home archipelago. The coastal boundary where Alaska and British Columbia meet is a jagged seam that combines two equally large and divergent wildernesses. To the west is the gaping expanse outwards to the North Pacific Ocean, and to the east is an infinite tower of mountains that form what some folks in the Northwest call Cascadia. This coastline where the two countries meet is sparsely inhabited and often obscured by fog as the mountains sheer off into the ocean. Powerful seven meter tides and processions from sub arctic storms forge and batter the Gulf of Alaska making the coastline a stubborn and hostile place.
In 850BC during a routine battering from a south easterly storm, heavy rain and torrential winds triggered a mud slide on SunnaHae. The heavy slide naturally felled the tree and slid it down the mountain. At the base of the mountain the slide and storm buried the tree in over 20 feet of mud, rocks, moss and wood. For the next 2850 years this ancient tree would lay at the base of SunnaHae, protected from decay in it’s tomb of soil.
In 2010, a tone wood company in Alaska decided to clear their land and expand their soundboard factory. Within a year, all the trees were logged and the heavy stumps removed. When the stumps were removed, remnants of old growth trees buried below became visible.
After contracting a surveyor to topo-survey the property and building site, a plan was developed to continue with the construction project. 12,000 yards of rocky mud was removed from one portion of the property, across the road to another part of the property, to create a flat spot on the side of the mountain property large enough for the factory.
Towards the tail end of the excavation, several chucks of old broken log and couple other tree chunks, including 1 tree with the roots still attached became visible. One tree log still had it’s bark attached and looked well preserved. This lead to further investigation and excavation of the site to unearth a giant mystery tree.
This ancient wood was bucked into an 18″ round, power washed, and quarter sawed into a soundboard. The colour of the wood was a very dark blueish grey.
This fascinating oxidation of the wood lead to a call to the USDA Forest Service. A sample of the wood was sent for carbon dating at Beta Analytical in Florida.
The Geological history of central west coast of Prince of Wales Island.
Prince of Wales Island was last covered with an ice flow from the south until approx. 15,000 years ago. For several thousand years the area was a tundra type of geography, with foxes and birds which gave way to a developing Boreal forest of Lodge Pole Pine. At this point in time it was quite a lot drier on the coast and apparently warmer.
The Bering land bridge disappeared and ocean currents changed, which caused our climate of Current SE Alaska to change to a temperate rainforest. With the increased rainfall everything was changing again. The Sitka Spruce and western Hemlock started growing and approximately 8000 years ago taking over and replacing the Lodge Pole Pine forest. 3000 years later the Red cedars started growing here. So our current temperate rainforest is only about 8000 yrs old.
It was believed that the glacial flow of the late Wisconsin Glaciation period came from the north and west. However new evidence suggests that the ice flow in this area came from the south/west. The mineral flour and glacial remnants from the melting ice permanently seeped into the earth helping to create a fertile abundance for the rainforest to thrive and develop.
by Joi Guitars
Ancient Glacier Spruce (2850 years old) Top, Ancient Langwood Fen Oak, (3300 bc 4 ft below sea level, harvested in Winter) Back, Sides, neck, Fretboard, Eclipse Proprietary Bracing System, Pure Silver Binding, Inlay please inquire for price
The Ancient OM: Ancient Sitka Top (3000 year old), 20 Year Vintage Ziricote, Curly Claro Walnut Walnut Neck, 25.4″ Scale Length, Ebony Fingerboard, Figured Maple Binding with Black/ White Trim, Arm Bevel, Signature Pin-Less Bridge, Gotoh Tuners 1:21 Gear Ratio, 1 3/4″ Nut, 2 1/4 String Spacing, 14 Fret To Body, Bone Nut and Saddle, Double Action Truss Rod with Carbon Neck Rod, Joi Ziricote Signature Headstock, Ameritage Guitar Case, Upper Bout is 10 3/4″, Waist is 9″,Lower Bout is 14 1/2″, Body Length is 19 1/2″, Total Length is 40″ SOLD
OOO: Ancient Glacier Sitka Top (2850 Years Old), Master Grade Vintage Sugar Maple Back, Sides, Neck (Milled in the 70’s for Cello’s; cured and dried over 40 years. Dense and tight with an incredible “Q” value), Sahlstrom Ebony Bridge, Fingerboard, Binding, Sahlstrom Arm Rest and Knee Rest, Original Sahlstrom Rosette, Headstock SOLD
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