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The Big Trees of California (1907), by Galen Clark

Celebrated Specimens

Among all the largest Sequoia trees known in California, the trees named General Grant in the General Grant National Park, the General Sherman in the Sequoia National Park, and the Grizzly Giant in the Mariposa Grove, are. perhaps the most notedly distinguished, although there are many others which are very close rivals.

In the General Grant National. Park, the tree named General Grant is said to have a base diameter of forty feet. It is enclosed with a picket fence, and no one is allowed inside the fence to take measurements. It is claimed by some persons to be the largest tree in the State, but a few feet above its wide-spreading base near the ground, the main body of the tree does not appear to be any larger than some others in the near vicinity.

The tree named General Sherman in the Sequoia National Park has a base circumference near the ground of one hundred and two feet. Five feet above, it measures eighty-four

Wawona Tree, Mariposa Grove
Photograph by Boysen.
Diameter, 28 feet; height, 260 feet; measured by Hon.
B. M. Leitch, Guardian of the Grove.
and one-half feet. Fifteen feet above, its circumference is seventy-two and one-half feet. Its height is two hundred and eighty-five feet. The body of the tree tapers but very little for one hundred feet or more up. Its elevation above sea level, as reported by the United States Geological Survey, is 6,852 feet. It is a splendid tree, and Probably contains More solid cubic feet of wood than any other known tree in California.

The Grizzly Giant is the acknowledged patriarch of the Mariposa Grove of Sequoias. It is not so tall and graceful in general outline, nor is its cubical contents as great as some other trees in the grove. It is located on more comparatively open and dry ground, and has a unique individuality of majestic grandeur all its. own, different from any other known Sequoia. It has been very badly injured by fires during unknown past centuries, leaving only four narrow strips of sapwood conecting with its roots. Many of its top branches have been broken down by the weight of heavy winter snows and fierce gales of wind. One of its large branches, one hundred feet

Grizzly Giant, Mariposa Grove
Photograph by Fiske.
Circumference at Base, 104 feet.
above the ground, is six feet and seven inches in diameter, as measured by surveyor’s transit. Its present base circumference is ninety-three feet without making any allowance for the large part burned away, which if done would increase it to over one hundred feet.

As a result of the great injuries it has sustained from the destructive elements and lack of moisture in the ground during the past few centuries, the wood growth has, been very slow, the annual ring increase being as thin as wrapping paper, too fine to be counted with the unaided eye. The inside growth of bark has been equally slow, and has not been equal to the wear and disintegration on the outside by the elements. The bark is now worn down smooth and very thin, and probably the tree does not now measure as much in circumference as it did several centuries ago. According to the best estimates made by the examination of the annual ring growths in some of the remains of old fallen Sequoias, the Grizzly Giant must be not less than six thousand years old, yet still living, grizzled with age, defying old Time with his legions of furies which have shattered its royal crown, stripped its body nearly bare, and cut off its main source of nutriment. Dying for centuries, yet still standing at bay, it is probably not only the oldest living tree, but also the oldest living thing on earth.

Wawona Hotel and Cottages
Photograph by Reichel.
Near Mariposa Big Tree Grove.

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