The silence was broken when a loud mechanical buzz sounded from within the expanse of pine trees.
This man knew that cutting a tree and letting it fall to the earth in one piece was protocol, but he had different plans.
He eagerly hacked at them, working on digging through them in layers.
He hastily looked through the remains like a madman, but an onlooker would not know what he was looking for.
Being a lumberjack wasn’t the most exciting career in the world.
But for Tony Markins, the job was still something to be grateful for.
He worked with a great team and the pay was decent.
And, once in a blue moon, his fellow loggers would stumble on something mildly entertaining in the forest.
Tony was also the outdoorsy type.
He couldn’t imagine spending his days trapped inside an office, staring at a screen.
He needed to be out in the fresh air indulging his senses and doing something physical.
He knew his job came with its dangers but for him, it was just a part of the trade off. Little did he know how dangerous his job was about to get.
It was a cool, crisp Wednesday morning and work was already in full swing.
The air smelled like fresh pine mixed with pungent gasoline from their chainsaws.
Even though he was wearing ear protection, he could still hear the constant hum of machinery that swarmed around the forest like a colony of bees.
He had no idea that he was only a few trunks away from something extraordinary.
The chainsaws had sawdust flying everywhere.
Particles stuck to his forehead that dripped with sweat from his brow.
He turned off the saw and took a quick water break to recharge.
It was then that he spotted one tree that looked a little different than the others. It looked ominous. Its bark was darker than all the others. And it was tall too. It towered over Tony like Jack and the beanstalk.
Then he noticed something strange.
The tree had several strange bumps on the surface. They protruded from the tree bark in a random pattern and were covered sporadically with moss.
Tony had never seen something like this before. He looked around, quickly, surveying the nearby trees.
Usually, where there’s a tree with a deformity, there’ll be others. But this tree stood alone.
His first suspicion was the lumps were bark cankers – which is a disease that can affect many kinds of trees.
The infections didn’t affect his line of work.
They were only important for farmers or people who were at risk of a rotten trunk falling on their car or home.
He looked closer.
The strange lumps weren’t formed by any disease he had seen before.
So, he put his gear back on and started up the chainsaw.
He had no idea what to expect but he knew the tree was hiding something interesting.
Unbeknownst to him, the tree was hiding a lot more something ‘interesting’. What it held inside was simply beyond belief.
Tony held the strange object in his hand, turning it between his thumb and finger.
He held it up to the sky, watching it glisten as it caught the reflection of the sun.
The buzzing chainsaw tore into the enormous tree with more ease than expected.It didn’t take long before Tony was yelling “Timber!” with all his might.
The tree crashed into the open space away from the other workers. Finally, the moment of truth.
A high-pitched crack pierced through the air as the tree gave way to the pull of gravity.
It hit the ground with a loud thump. Tony felt the vibration under his feet as the ground absorbed its weight.
It was by far the most dangerous cut he’d done. It seemed like the whole forest trembled with it’s impact. Once everything got still again, Tony turned his attention to the freshly cut trunk.
It only took one look to see this was anything but normal..
A large gash ran through the center of the trunk.
The tree had formed a protective crust around the wound.
Luckily, the rings were still clear enough to figure out how old the tree was. It was at least 30 to 35 years old.
Just as Tony was about to shrug off the discovery as an odd deformity, he saw something more.
He noticed something silver embedded at the end of the gash. Tony’s heart dared to beat a little faster.
He quickly whipped out his knife and pried out the foreign object.
It was a lump of metal, and his chainsaw had narrowly missed it, threatening to cut it in half.
He studied it under the sunlight before shouting for his fellow lumberjacks to come over.
They began to make their way over, responding to his call for help.
As they approached, Tony looked back at the tree trunk and realized there was more in there.
He took his knife to them again, eagerly yet carefully removing the curious objects. He pried out another three metal lumps!
He held them in his hand completely dumbfounded.
“Anyone know what this is?” he asked, trying to keep his mind firmly within reality – and not jump to wild ideas of hidden treasure.
One guy picked up one of the lumps and turned it around in his fingers.
It seemed they were all as confused as Tony.
It wasn’t until one of the older workers joined them, did he finally get an unexpected answer.
The grey, gruff worker bent down and chuckled.
Everyone stared at him, waiting eagerly for an explanation.
“Someone was bored,” he said with an amused grin. Bored?
What was going on? How was 30-year-old metal connected to boredom? “Feel like clueing in the rest of us?” Tony asked.
The old man scratched his beard and said, “Some guys come out here hunting.
And if they don’t get anything, they get bored and fire at trees.”
The rest of the group took on the same grin as the old-timer. They were old rounds from a rifle.
It might not have been the magical treasure he had hoped for, but the trunk wasn’t ready to call it a day yet. Neither was Tony.
Although he didn’t get his hopes too high, Tony couldn’t help but feel disappointed with the result.
His quiet disappointment made him even more determined to make sure old bullets were all this tree hid.
Regardless, he was already in the spirit of discovery so he took up his chainsaw and continued to investigate.
Good thing he did too or he would have never discovered the real treasure.
Layer by layer, he stripped away the wood.
Splinters and saw dust flew everywhere as his chainsaw roared and opened the mysterious tree further.
In total, there were eight rounds lodged in the tree. Someone must have been bored indeed – or even really frustrated.
But it wasn’t until he got to the very bottom that the real treasure finally revealed itself.
Tony was down to the very last wood layer of the tree stump. It was nearly touching the ground.
He stacked up all the bullets in a pile beside him.
He was going to take them out of the forest whether they were worth anything or not.
He didn’t like anything but nature being in the woods but his next find would tell you otherwise.
He was just about to cut the stump clean off when he spotted something lodged in the corner.
It sparkled against the high sun just like the bullets. It was more metal.
Tony assumed it was another bullet. He moved the shrubs aside and reached for it. It was half covered in dirt.
At first touch, it felt much bigger than the other bullets. But it wasn’t a bullet at all.
Tony wiped the dirt off the metal, still thinking it was another bullet.
He grabbed the end of his shirt, wiping the dirt away. It wasn’t until he noticed the intricate carving details that he suddenly realized what he was holding.
Tony’s jaw hit the floor. What was something like this doing all the way out here in the middle of nowhere? He turned it around.
Now this was definitely more valuable than old bullets.
The metal casing told him it was not a run-of-the-mill purchase.
What was even better was the inside needle still worked!
All in all, it was a nice piece of hunting or survival equipment.
Can you guess what Tony found?
It was a compass! And not just any compass.
It was one of the most beautifully crafted compasses he’d seen.
It had been lodged in the roots of the tree – probably dropped by a hunter on one of their outings. The years of rain and snow must have buried it next to the old tree.
Tony grinned, wondering how old and valuable it was.
The compass looked pretty old and there was no way to find out who it belonged to.
He checked every corner to check if it was dated or had initials – it didn’t.
Without making a fuss, he slipped it in his jacket pocket while the rest of the crew grinned and went back to work.
He went home that night and arranged for an antique expert to date it.
He waited anxiously as the woman scoured over the compass with a magnifying glass and a notebook.
She jotted down something every now and again. When she finished, she turned to Tony and grinned.
She told him that the compass was a beautiful and unique find that was over 100 years old. At the moment, it would sell for $200. Tony was delighted! However, he decided to hold onto it for now.
But Tony’s story isn’t the only one.
A logger from a remote town in Alaska found himself scratching his head after he and his son uncovered a peculiar tree in the woods in their backyard.
The two were on their morning patrol of their property when the massive tree irked their interest.
They first saw a thick grey liquid leaking from the stem.
But cutting it open would result in the authorities quarantining their property.
Fifty-two-year-old Jerry McQueen had been a logger for as long as he could remember.
A native of the Alaskan wilds, he loved everything that came with leaving away from the big cities and their fumes and bright lights.
Life in the country was quiet and peaceful–just the way he liked it.
He had no idea that one day everything would come crashing down.
Among the things that Jerry held dear were his family and property.
Jerry had worked for years to afford the latter, a ranch with acres of artificial forest.
He made his living logging the trees and planting new ones, and for the most part, he really loved what he did.
But this would change one day when he discovered a dark and dangerous secret thriving in his land.
Jerry’s life usually revolved around his family and running the logging business.
He had a lovely wife, Anna, who worked as a baker in town, two girls in college, and his youngest son, Billy, who was in high school.
Jerry’s life would start with breakfast with his family before he took an ATV into the property to assess his trees.
Afterward, he’d mark the area to be logged and call in the calvary.
The day that the incident took place was a different one for Jerry.
It was in the middle of summer, and Billy was doing the morning rounds with him.
The two hopped onto separate ATVs and rode deep into their property, with Jerry brimming with pride at how much his boy loved the outdoors.
But that day would end in anything but a smile.
The two were on their ATVs for about thirty minutes when they noticed something was terribly wrong.
The first thing that struck them as odd was a foul smell that blanketed the area around them.
The stench was burning hot in the cold of the morning. It clawed down Jerry’s throat, wrenching a croak from him as he wiped his stinging eyes.
What was happening?
Jerry jumped off his ATV but motioned Billy to remain on his.
He looked around, wondering if a dead animal’s carcass was near.
But the stench was different from that of an animal’s remains. It felt more malevolent as if the forest was trying to warn Jerry of something.
With furrowed brows and thinned lips, he started looking around.
Jerry was still searching when his foot stepped on something wet.
His shoe squelched under the muddy dirt, prompting him to go down on one knee.
He coughed, holding his nose tight. The ground was sleek with thick liquid, with the foul smell coming from the fluid.
The areas seemed lifeless. Where was the water coming from?
Jerry continued looking around more carefully, his eyes scrutinizing every detail.
The manicured trees waved and creaked around him, the rancid smell getting worse as he ventured deeper and deeper.
He couldn’t understand what was happening as he’d never encountered anything like this.
He was about to give up when out of nowhere, he saw it.
The tree was larger than most around it, in a corner of the property that Jerry seldomly visited.
It had no leaves and seemed dead and dry in an area where most other trees were thriving.
But Jerry realized that sleek grew liquid marked its thick stem, flowing onto the ground where it spread all over the area.
This tree was the source of the bad smell.
Jerry couldn’t explain what he was seeing.
Was this some disease he didn’t know about? Was the rest of his property in danger from a possible contagion?
He scratched his mind, wondering if calling in a professional was necessary.
He debated the matter for a few seconds before deciding to take matters into his own hands.
Jerry hurried back to his ATV, taking out the chainsaw he always moved around with.
He asked his son to follow along, telling him he’d found one of the most bizarre trees in his life.Billy was more than happy to follow along.
Anything that screamed adventure was up his lane, and he wouldn’t miss this opportunity for anything in the world.
If only he knew what he and his dad were about to uncover.
Jerry and Billy turned the chainsaw on and started cutting.
But the spinning chain hadn’t even sliced deep into the tree’s stem when a thick blob of yellowish grew water came squirting out.
The foul smell doubled, the greyish liquid oozing onto the ground. But Jerry didn’t stop.
The more he cut, the more he’d realize this was a terrible mistake.
At first, Jerry thought the grey liquid was slime flux, a bacterial infection that usually caused plant sap to darken and take on a bad smell.
But this liquid was grey and pouring out. “Call the arborist,” Jerry whispered as he realized the liquid wasn’t ceasing its flow.
A forest professional would know what was happening. The arborist, Mark, came in the next hour.
But one look at the tree, and he asked Jerry and Billy to step away.
Mark explained that whatever was happening to the tree was a dangerous fungal infection that would soon spread to the other trees if not handled correctly.
He called in experts from the state’s botany department, who recommended quarantining Jerry’s property until they had the issue under control.
According to Mark, the fungal infection has been known to have a long-gestating period before wiping out large swathes of plant life in mere months.
He was glad Jerry had found the tree when he did.