So on the one hand, it's kind of a feeling of what happenned, was that interest always there apparently and it was just a matter of running into it? Or something else? On the other hand it feels good to be doing something new for enjoyment that I am liking so much I may want to do more than just as a hobby, without worrying about how it happenned or where its going.
For the most part, the majority of trees I'm interested in are conifers. I have a handful of books i'm working on for gradual and thorough knowledge-building, but my initial and primary source of quick info is the internet. I usually start at http://www.conifers.org/. You want all the science, facts, and papers on ANY conifer, you will probably find it here. As for local tree info and history, I'm enjoying http://www.arthurleej.com/ , the website of Arthur Lee Jacobson. He is a lifelong resident of Seattle, an avid plant lover since his teens and has made a life of working with trees it seems. He's published a lot of plant books and a couple I want to check out are Wild Plants of Greater Seattle and Trees of Seattle.
Ok, now for some trees. I always knew that Seward Park has some of the biggest conifers in Seattle, but just recently learned of Shmitz Preserve Park, in West Seattle. From what I understand this area has the most native concentration of trees and other plants all in one place that exist in Seattle. I've only explored this park several times, but it seems to me maybe this park has as many magnificent trees as anywhere else in Seattle. Again though, there are so many good parks that have an abundance of really big conifers, I suppose the merits of another spot can always be argued. The bottom line is that both of these parks have a great abundance of wildflowers, ferns, lichens, birdlife, and other interesting oddities that nature has served up, that tree-viewing becomes just one of the many things to take in when in these parks.
I walked in Seward yesterday and checked out the alleged 'biggest' living tree in Seattle, a Douglas Fir with a circumfurence of 23 feet . I haven't heard from anyone how tall this tree is and I don't have an inclinometer, but I'm guessing it's over 200ft. By biggest, I suppose that means overall cubic feet of wood in the tree, because I have seen thicker Douglas Firs in Lincoln Park (the thickest I've seen in Seattle, North end by beach), and I'm certain I've seen taller trees in Seattle than the tree I saw yesterday. Here's a pic of the 'biggest tree' in seattle, Seward Park. Note my girlfriend standing at the base for reference. It must be 50-60 feet to the first branch.
And here are a couple of pics of the Douglas Fir at the North end of the Beach Path in Lincoln Park. Wider trunk, but not as tall as this tree in Seward. Not sure what overall cubic feet is though, so which is bigger? This is part of the fun of it, the debating and talking about spots, sharing discoveries, good-spirited arguing about what is what.
Western Trillium in Seward Park
Western Red Cedars all over the park-Do yourself a favor and walk the various trails cutting through the center of the park rather than the outer loop only, you will see far more!
SCHMITZ PRESERVE PARK
This less visited nature preserve sits in West Seattle off of Admiral Way, a couple miles West of California. There are big, wide trails for walking as well as more challenging, narrower trails. The center of the area is the shallowest, with a small creek running through, and trails run concentricly on each side. There is plenty of bushwhacking to do as well and some incredibly big downed spans of tree and trunks that are interesting to explore, but there's a lot of delicate looking plant life everywhere and I try to watch my step when off the beaten path. I've been there 3 times now but only had an hour each time-I have not even scratched the surface of what there is to see in here.
Skunk Cabbage, aka Swamp Lantern
Douglas Fir and Bigleaf Maple seemingly fused at base.
I believe this is a Grand Fir, but not certain just by the bark. Big trees for sure and they can get up to 80m tall. I would've examined the cones and leaves/needles to be sure, but a bit of a challenge with the first branches being 50ft+off the ground. This tree is broken off about 60 feet up and has a lot of reiterating trunks and a pretty crazy looking crown developing at that point now. It is shown again in the picture below this one, in the background.