Traveling for some 'sole' searching

Fish Springs has its own "Shoe Tree," just like the Loneliest Road in America has its special tree. The main difference is the kind of shoes that seem to be growing on these trees.

When you're driving east toward Austin on Highway 50, keep an eye open for the famous old Cottonwood tree that stands alone alongside the highway. It is totally covered with different kinds of shoes that dangle from its tired, out-stretched branches.

The Fish Springs' Shoe Tree was planted in our front yard alongside Bobwhite Lane and it is decorated only with old cowboy boots. Instead of a very large cottonwood tree, our Fish Springs tree is a small, dead, corkscrew willow. Its branches bend under the weight of many well-worn boots. It kind of fits the area though, as our property is part of the original Finch Homestead. For years we've been hanging all our old boots on this tired little tree. Friends and family have also added their colorful boots to give the tree some energy. I hope it works.

Jonni Hill is a staff writer for the Record-Courier and she got the inside story of the Highway 50 "Shoe Tree" from local residents of Austin. It goes something like this: While traveling along Highway 50, some newlyweds stopped under the shade of the cottonwood tree. They got into a big argument and the young bride threatened to take off walking. Her husband grabbed her shoes that she had removed while they were in the car and he threw them high into the tree so she couldn't walk away on the gravel and dirt.

"They did make up, but more and more 'soles' joined the first pair until the tree is now covered with every type of shoe imaginable," said Hill.

Every time that we've gone past this infamous old cottonwood tree I've wanted to stop, take off my tennis shoes, tie their shoe laces together and then toss them way up high over a branch. Problem is, then I'd have to be running around with just my socks on. I never think ahead to bring an extra pair of shoes along.

n Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.


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