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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Multimedia

Rantcast: the desert shoe tree

Audio - October 01, 2012 by Stephanie Paige Ogburn
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Desert shoe treeIn October's Rantcast, Michael Branch discusses why a tree, filled with shoes, is so appealing to passersby in his neck of the woods. Each set of shoes has its own story, and sometimes he and his daughters make up stories about the shoes. Mike then takes his daughters, each with their own items -- and their own stories -- to leave their belongings in the tree.

Rants from the Hill are Michael Branch's monthly musings on life in rural Nevada. They are posted at the beginning of each month at  You can subscribe to the podcast for free in iTunes, or through Feedburner if you use other podcast readers. Each month's rant is also available in written form.

Musical credits for Rantcast: Bumper sticker sloganeering, licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Lorenzo's Music, for opening and closing track "We All Fall Down," Admiral Bob, for "Longing for Tumbleweeds," and Pitx, for "See You Later."

Find more Rants from the Hill at

If you like this podcast, you might also enjoy West of 100, our mid-month podcast covering nature and culture in the American West. Available for free via iTunes and through Feedburner.

Jim Andre
Jim Andre Subscriber
Oct 02, 2012 02:27 PM
I live in a remote area of the Mojave Desert and I'm sickened, not charmed, by this destructive human trash. One by one I've witnessed palo verde trees rapidly becoming "chosen" to be weighted by clothing garbage until they collapse and die. There were 14 trees when I moved to this area 20 years ago, we're down to just one now, and it has caught the eye of the disrespecting habit of launching their footwear upon it. It will crumble soon as well. My son and daughter are witnessing ea. death, and have decided to start leaving signs, near the road in front of ea. tree, saying "please don't kill me".
Jim Andre
Jim Andre Subscriber
Oct 02, 2012 02:32 PM
I should add that when a tree does crumble, the hundreds of shoes and bras etc... are washed away from the road, into gullies, into arroyos, and are left there for eons rotting. What does this do for people to deface nature this way? Decorate your homes, don't trash your natural heritage.
Hank Miller
Hank Miller
Oct 02, 2012 05:30 PM
Ease up folks! its not a forest being decimated rather a remote tree on US 50 and there are no others since some earth first idiot destroyed the original tree shoe which of course did no good whatsoever other than destroy a perfectly good tree. that person's dna petri dish is shallow at best. Mojave Desert? can't be too remote with zillions of off-roaders zooming over the dunes 24/7/365
Jim Andre
Jim Andre Subscriber
Oct 02, 2012 06:44 PM
@ Hank. yeah who cares, ef it all, eh?
Daniel Watts
Daniel Watts Subscriber
Oct 03, 2012 06:52 AM
Mr. Branch's shoe tree and the Nevada shoe tree of my memory are in two different locations. I am familiar with a cottonwood shoe tree on Highway 50 near Middlegate, Nevada, not this tree near the CA/NV border. From what I heard and a few news articles have comfirmed, the shoe tree on Highway 50 was chopped down in early 2011 by some vandals.
Hank Miller
Hank Miller
Oct 03, 2012 08:38 AM
i believe Daniel is correct. The vandals were associated with a green movement of some sort. Badly misplaced values in this case
Jim Andre
Jim Andre Subscriber
Oct 03, 2012 09:07 AM
I think shoes would look great draped on bulldozers
James Noriega
James Noriega Subscriber
Oct 24, 2012 08:19 PM
In addition to the tree near Middlegate, the shoe tree south of Shurz, north of Wlaker lake was cut down about the same time. Is this trend?

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