Last Remnants of Old Native American Trails Are All Grown Up Now
Native American Trails once crisscrossed the entire North American continent. Today, however, most people use SatNavs to find their bearings. But back in the day, Native American’s didn’t have that and walking through the open expanses of wilderness could lead people to get lost and never find another human settlement again.
So, in order to keep on track, the Native American trails had some markers put in place in order to help travellers find their way. So, what they did was to use what was available to them at the time, and something that was sure to last for a long time – the trees themselves.
Tribes would create these marker trees along the old Native American trails by bending its branches horizontally at its highest points. This allowed people on the road spot them even at greater distances, and even during winter.
Today, however, the old Native American way of life is gone, but these marker trees can still be found, scattered all across the United States. They stand as a testament to these people’s ingenuity and use of the land for their very survival.
You can imagine that these trees have grown a lot since the time the old Native American trails were in active use, and they still stand today. They go by a lot of names, some of which being “Indian trail trees” or “signal trees.”
It is important to note that, even though these trees exist, some crooked ones found across the United States could have formed naturally and don’t necessarily make up the old Native American trails. In 1941, a Dr. Janssen analysed some of these trees and documented his findings while in the woods.
“Someone who casually looks for these trail markers tends to have difficulty finding authentic trail markers. Deformed trees can develop a lot of ways. For example, a bigger tree may fall onto a smaller tree and pinned it down for a long period of time.
After this occurs, the smaller tree will have been permanently bent. Another example of tree deformities occurs with lightning strikes. A trunk can become split which creates a leaning tree that “resembles” a true trail marker. Even wind, snow or wildlife can create what seem like Indian markers throughout the trees. So how in the world can you tell what’s authentic and what just looks like a crazy looking tree?”
But even though, this may be the case for some of the trees found randomly in a forest, many other trees are really part of the old Native American trails. When analysing them, people came across such trees forming a straight line, or are found leading to various important ceremonial sites.