ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON TREES: A Catalogue of View-Blockers


In my ode to trees post last week, I sang the praises of those gigantic plants composed of wood, bark, branches, twigs, leaves, and bird nests.  It’s easy to appreciate the beauty of those features, but it’s not so easy to love raking those damn leaves up from your lawn, or gathering those stinking limbs and twigs after a big storm, or standing underneath a branch full of birds that have just digested a healthy meal of worms and bugs.

Speaking of bugs, trees house many thousands of bugs.  I don’t get along with bugs.  Caterpillars, ticks, cicadas, beetles, locusts, invasive insect species–I hate ’em all.

But this post is not about any of that.  No, it’s about what I consider to be the MOST undesirable feature of trees–that is, they obscure the scenery.  I’ve been complaining about it for years.  Trees grow like weeds here in the north country and after you’ve lived here long enough you start appreciating the vast treeless areas of America’s deserts and plains.  I seriously need to visit the Nullarbor.  Or the Atacama.  Or the arctic regions north of the tree line.  Or any other place where you can see all the way to the horizon.

So, allow me to be your virtual guide as I demonstrate some examples of the insidious nature of Minnesota’s view-blocking trees.  And keep in mind that it’s even WORSE in the northern part of the state.  I just can’t understand why so many vacationers choose to go up there to spend a week or two in the woods.


Minnesota has a pretty good reputation for its miles and miles of paved bike trails. Most of those miles look exactly the same as this.


See what I mean? A couple of miles later it’s still just trees on both sides. One of the world’s great rivers is about 30 yards to the right, but you can’t see it through the view-blockers.


From 150-feet above Spring Lake, I think this view would be fantastic–if not for all those trees in the way.


Even on the wide-open roads, trees can present some problems. This tree is blocking my view of the trees on the far side of the cornfield.


Here, a view-blocker is preventing me from identifying some wildlife. Is it a bear? A wolf? A moose? My dog, Diggity? Thanks to this tree, we may never know.


Why couldn’t there be MORE trees to block the view of this monstrosity.


Just too many trees for me–except in front of the visual abomination that is the WalMart store.  I made it home and started typing this post.  There is a window in front of me.  Just outside of the window is a maple tree that we planted in our front yard about 15 years ago.  What were we thinking?


Now I can’t even see what kind of shenanigans my neighbors are up to.



Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

8 response to "ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON TREES: A Catalogue of View-Blockers"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: June 9, 2018

    Haha! Funny as always, Greg. I very much enjoyed your post and enjoyed all that lush green without having to put up with the insects. I can tell you do not come from a god-forsaken area where it is hot for much of the year and bastardly hot for a couple months of that. I love view-blockers because they are also sun-blockers, and I deeply appreciate their shade (even the half-ass shade of Oz eucalypts) when I’m riding 🙂

  2. By: gregblood Posted: June 9, 2018

    Oh yes, Emily, the shade is definitely a positive quality of trees. I think I forgot to mention it because there are only about ten days a year in Minnesota where I actually need shade.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 9, 2018

      You’re close, but the actual nickname is “land of 10,000 lakes, 10,000,000 mosquitoes, and 10,000,000,000 view blockers.”

  3. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: June 9, 2018

    Hi Greg. You should definitely cycle the Nullarbor although even there you can find the occasional pesky bush in the way. Don’t come to southern Tassie though as it is so full of view-blockers you have to climb beyond the tree line to see anything much.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 10, 2018

      Thanks for the heads up on Tasmanian view-blockers, Tony. I’m afraid I won’t be bike touring there anytime soon.

  4. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: June 28, 2018

    Ha Ha Great post, I think you have 2 options. Get a chainsaw or move to somewhere with a view over water, Green Bay is the closest I can see on the map and yes, it’s always important to do some ‘curtin twitching’, got to stay one step ahead of the neighbours.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 28, 2018

      Thank you for the suggestions, but I would rather serve a life sentence in a prison made of trees than spend one minute in Packer City.

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