“Gravity-Defying Wonders: The Spectacular Hanging Roots of a Mature Tree Flourishing in Evergreen Splendor” – Celebrating the Beauty of Nature

The ‘Tree of Life’ in Washington is an iconic symbol of resilience and survival for the locals. Despite its age, this tree is fighting to survive and has become an inspiration for many due to its determination to endure against all odds.

The coastal town of Forks, Washington has a local tree that has become a symbol of strength and tenacity. Called the “Tree of Life,” this Sitka Spruce has been standing for many years on the bluffs of northern Washington’s coast. Although these trees can live up to 800 years, this particular tree has recently been struggling to survive due to the harsh conditions of its environment. High tides from the ocean and a nearby waterfall have caused erosion beneath the tree, leaving it suspended about 10 feet above the beach. Its roots are exposed and are only clinging to the remaining edges of the bluff on either side. Despite these challenges, the tree still stands tall, and locals admire its resilience in the face of adversity.

For many years, the tree had been living in a remote location near Forks, undisturbed and unnoticed. However, this all changed when a few people discovered the phenomenal sight and started sharing pictures of it on social media. As a result, the tree became “Instagram famous,” according to Lissy Andros, the Director of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. The tree has now become a popular tourist attraction where people come to marvel at how it continues to survive despite everything working against it. Sadly, people climb on the tree, which is harmful to it, and the area around it has been eroded by terrible King tides. Additionally, there’s a waterfall behind it that’s slowly eroding it from the back. Despite these challenges, the Tree of Life continues to hang on day-to-day, and it remains alive.

Apart from the King tide, the climate of Northern Washington coast is among the harshest in the United States. During fall and winter, powerful storms generated by an intensified jet stream strike the bluff, unhindered from the Pacific Ocean resulting in wind gusts of 60-70 mph several times every winter. Forks, a nearby town receives almost 10 feet of rainfall annually. Despite the tough weather conditions, the Tree of Life has withstood the test of time. Every time a storm hits, Andros wonders whether it will be the one to take it down. Even summers have been harsh, with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees during last June’s historic heatwave. Such high temperatures damaged a lot of trees in the area, but the Tree of Life remained resilient. It’s now a destination attraction, with visitors taking photos and getting engaged in front of it. The tree holds a special place for many people and serves as a source of inspiration for all due to its remarkable ability to survive in such an extreme environment.

Photographer Mathew Nichols has spent years photographing the Tree of Life on the beach. He finds the tree’s ability to hold on by just its roots despite all odds to be fascinating. Nichols is now taking time-lapse photography of the tree over months and years to document its fight for survival and for keepsake if it succumbs to gravity. People often ask why the tree has been left alone, but it’s meant to be a resilient anomaly in nature, and people need to appreciate it and enjoy it as long as they can. No one knows how long the tree will hang on, but it has been there for decades, and it could be like this for another hundred years. The Tree of Life is easy to find and is even marked on Google Maps. It’s located a little over a three-hour drive from Seattle.

Scroll to Top