05 July 2017

Grant Grove

Kings Canyon National Park

Click for map.

I cannot pass up stopping by the big trees when we are so near and somehow Martha has never seen them. My original desire was to head up to the Garfield Grove, but the extra day for that is not working out after all. Considering how today is shaping up, it would have been a bit hot for the hike. My father seemed relieved to a surprising extreme to not have to find a different ride to the airport, so it works out for everyone to cut off a day of adventure. Instead of that remote grove that we might have all to ourselves, we head over to the paved and fenced Grant Grove, which we will have to share with tourists that arrive by the busload plus those in dozens of cars. It was once part of the General Grant National Park, one of the first four national parks, but is now a part of the much younger Kings Canyon National Park. Importantly, it has sequoiadendron giganteum, and some of them are quite large ones.

fenced sequoia towers around 300 feet tall over people on paved walks
The grove has a paved walk past trees generally nearly 300 feet tall and one fallen log people can walk through and which housed some of the first white settlers.

Signs tell us cultural history and bits about the trees. I expect to see something about fire on one of the first two, but it takes quite a few signs to get around to it. On the way, there is plenty of evidence of fire.

tall tree with black holes showing, especially toward the center of the height
One tree showing burned out spots all the way up, but it still stands and sprouts green.

After we pass the log, which is so unenthusiastic to decay into the ground that it looks much the same now as when it was housing soldiers who were the first park protectors, there is the massive Centennial Stump which is 24 feet across. This one was cut in 1875 for exhibition and was confidently called a hoax by those in the east. Past that is the cabin those first white settlers built when they tired of living in a fallen tree. The thick redwood is still standing strong and solid. They were cattle or sheep herders, depending on if we read the old or new sign, and tried a little timber as well. Finally, there is General Grant himself.

sequoia, top to bottom
The General Grant Tree is the third largest tree in the world by volume. (Click for zoomable presentation.)

General Grant has quite a crowd. A sign points the way up a hill, which the park clearly does not think is accessible but has an electric wheelchair navigating it anyway, to see the general's fire scar. Other signs give a lot more information, some of it in very silly ways. It is the third largest tree known in the world, by volume and the widest known sequoia. That width is 40 feet and the height is 268 feet. It is a very big tree.

upper surfaces of General Grant seem to be white
The upper surface area of the tree seems to have bleached in the sun. The very large branch is 4.5 feet across according to the sign, but it sure looks bigger to me.

We take some time to marvel as the tree silently towering over us and read all the honors that have been bestowed upon it over the years, certain that the tree does not care, then finish the stroll around the loop past a few more sequoia.

another rather large tree
Another tree fading to white high above, seen through a window between the other trees.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 13 July 2017

1 comment:

Margaret LaFon said...

One of the things that I thought of on my plane ride east was that it had been very long time since I visited those giant trees and the waterfalls further north in Yosemite. Place for a family visit later on?