Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Birch Water

There’s a reason they call it birch water, not birch sap. Well, technically, it is sap, but you wouldn’t believe how convincingly water-like it is. When Kevan first said that we were going to be tapping the birch trees and drinking it every day at breakfast, I didn’t quite understand. Sure enough, half a day after our first birch-tapping experience, we had more than a gallon of “water” from just one small hole in the tree. At dinner that day, we placed on the table a pitcher of the clearest water you can imagine. And that is amazing, considering the amount of nutrients and minerals packed into that refreshing, woodsy-flavored water. Needless to say, each time we brought birch water back from the trees, it didn’t last long on the dining table.

So how did we get this miracle water from the trees? It’s actually quite simple, and causes no lasting damage to the trees. First we selected the biggest birch trees we have, since these ones will recover with ease after the tapping season. With a hand drill, we drilled a hole just over an inch deep into the base of the trunk. Immediately, the sap was pouring out like a small steady stream. With a short section of garden hose, we cut the top half of the circumference off of one end and wedged this end into the tree hole; the other end we lined up over a 1-gallon milk jug strategically placed and stabilized with wire. The pipe is open on the top at the one end so that the birch water that flows between the bark and the wood seeps down from above and into the pipe that carries it to the milk jug. When the season warms into spring and the steady flow of birch water dwindles, we remove the accessories and plug the hole with a branch or wood chips to seal the tree from infection. It will slowly and impressively heal over until all that’s left of the hole will be a small scar in the bark.

If you know where to look, nature will provide you with miraculous treasures.

~ Alison

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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