ANGEL OAK ST JOHNS ISLAND

The Angel Oak Tree // Charleston, South Carolina // Destination Wedding Photographer Brooke Townsend

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost -

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While visiting Charleston, I got to sneak off and pay a visit to the Angel Oak Tree which has been a dream of mine for about 10 years.

I’ve always had a deep appreciation for trees. And of course nature in general too. But to see this particular oak tree has been on my bucket list for a while. Because I’ve never seen an oak this big before! And to just think about how much this thing has seen and survived over the years is so mind boggling. I mean… it’s survived dozens of hurricanes, wars, disease… and is even (at least) twice the age of this country. Which… just blows my mind. Imagine if we could access the things this tree has seen over the hundreds of years it has been alive.

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The tree is estimated to be about 400-500 years old. Though, some believe it’s even older than that. It stands 66.5 ft tall, measures 28 ft in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. The longest branch measures in at 187 ft and the branches coming off the trunk look like trunks of other trees. This tree is such a life force because walking around and climbing through it’s twisted branches, so many other living things are using this tree as a home. And it almost felt like Hometree from Avatar.

We got there just before the park opened to go and see it. And a storm had just passed through and that hot Carolina summer sun started streaking through the leaves and branches causing the raindrops to evaporate giving me the most magical light to play with in that forest.

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Pro Trip: If you want to go visit the tree, go early to beat the crowds. You can’t go any earlier than opening time at 9am since it does have a huge military style fence around the park. But going there right at open had the least amount of people making this actually possible to photograph :)