Up on Mount Davidson in San Francisco there’s a lush forest of eucalyptus trees that gives the trails a deep-in-the-woods feeling that is a welcome counterpoint to the urban environment. For years a lone tree stood sentinel at the peak, and people would climb the tree or sit beneath it to take in the sweeping views of the city. Sometime in the last couple of years, though, the tree had been girdled and slowly died — a victim of ongoing debates and controversy around non-native species, particularly the eucalyptus trees. As the tree died, it lost its foliage and bark, and the wood bleached in the bright NorCal sun. Always noticeable on the summit of the hill, the tree had become unmistakable, and people traveled from near and far to photograph it.
I last saw the tree standing in January 2013. Some time in early April it finally succumbed and either fell or was cut down. Limbs have been removed and the sad carcass leans farther into the wind every week. On a foggy, windy night in mid August we decided to hike up the hill to pay our respects and take a few photos.