So earlier we got to learn about the Sequoias and watch a video about the Sequoias, but that's nothing compared to actually getting out there and seeing the Sequoias. Let's go!
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
The Flowers Explore - Sequoia National Park Pt 1 - 2022/06/23
Our first stop is Grant's Grove, home to a monster of a tree, but even the trees next to the parking lot are bigger than anything we've seen before.
The Grant Tree trail is an easy half mile loop, but it will take you past some of the largest trees in the world!
The first giant we encountered is known as the Fallen Monarch.
This tree fell more than 300 years ago, and was discovered in 1868.
It was hollowed out by fire and used as a shelter, a hotel and saloon, and even as a horse stable for nearly 25 years by the US Cavalry!
How cool is it to have a tree that's so big that you can walk through it without even having to duck!
Theresa regularly mentions how she wants to bring Christmas lights to the parks and decorate for the holidays because there's so many good trees! I really like all the bright highlights on these.
Oh boy. There it is. The General Grant Tree, towering above its neighbors.
The General Grant Tree isn't the tallest tree in the world, coming in at "only" 268 feet. The tallest is a coastal redwood measuring 380 feet tall named Hyperion. But what General Grant lacks in height, it makes up for in volume. With a trunk that is 40 feet across, it has a volume of 46608 cubic feet!
What an amazing thing to see.
Well it turns out that Theresa isn't the only one who sees trees in the forest and thinks of decorating them.
Back in 1924, R.J. Senior was standing by the tree with a little girl. She exclaimed "What a wonderful Christmas tree it would be!"
R.J. Senior, along with the help of Charles Lee, held a Christmas program at the tree on Christmas day in 1925. They wrote to the United States President at the time Calvin Coolidge who then designated the General Grant as The Nation's Christmas Tree in 1926. Now, each year, National Park Rangers bring a large wreath to place at the base each year.
The back side of the tree shows a large fire scar, but this 1650 year old tree is still alive and doing well!
Continuing our hike, there is an area behind the General Grant that was prime for further exploration.
Wow! Here's another giant tree that has fallen over. I wonder if we can see inside it!
We can! It seems to have fallen on a hillside, so not only do we climb inside it, but we also have to climb up it too!
Made it to the top!
And once you go up, you get to go back down again!
So many people have visited this tree that the inside of the trunk has been worn smooth and slick. The kids thought it was a really fun slide!
I remember at Disney's California Adventure, inside the Redwood Creek Challenge Trails, they have the Hoot-N-Holler log slide. I wonder if they were possibly inspired by these logs here.
Theresa caught us on the way down.
Continuing around the loop, we came across the Gamlin Cabin.
It was built in 1872 by Israel and Thomas Gamlin, who lived here while raising sheep in the area. In 1890, once the park was created, this area was used for storing hay and grain for the horses that were stabled at the Fallen Monarch nearby. Then, in 1902, it was the home of Lewis Davis, the first civilian ranger of the park, who patrolled the groves and raised sequoia seedlings.
Theresa liked how they built benches out of the logs.
The largest tree ever to be cut down, the Centennial Tree.
Martin Vivian was a promoter from San Francisco back in 1875, and even though there were laws forbidding it, he hired men to cut down the Centennial tree.
The famous conservationist John Muir was in the park at the time and watched as the tree fell. He heavily criticized Vivian for cutting down the tree. A 16 foot section of the trunk was sliced into pie-shaped wedges and shipped to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 (America's 100th birthday). Fair-goers paid 25 cents to see one of the largest things created by nature, but once they saw the 8 pie-shaped wedges, they labeled the whole thing a hoax, believing there couldn't be a single tree that large.
Theresa and I were both a bit surprised to see two of these giant sequoias so close to one another, thinking that competing for resources, one of them would have to win out over the other.
After finishing the loop, the kids still had that fallen tree slide on their minds. Can they please go back?
Sure, I thought it was fun too! Let's do the loop again.
They had a lot of fun on the slide. It was a bit bumpy coming down.
These trees are so massive that having a picture on a screen, it's really difficult to get a sense of the scale of these behemoths. Take a look in the lower right-hand corner.
That's me and the kids. The tree towers high above us, and the trunk also dwarfs us in comparison.