Calaveras Big Trees
Sponsored by the Delta Tule Trekkers, the Calaveras Big Trees walk started at the North Grove parking lot and went around the campground area, through tall pines and redwoods and up to the scenic overlook.
Returning back from the overlook, the walk passed "The Stump" and the remains of the "Discovery Tree" before going through the Five senses Walk and finally through the North Grove itself. The Discovery Tree was the largest tree in the grove, and the first discovered by a backwoods hunter in 1852. Within a year of its discovery, this majestic tree was stripped of its bark and felled by ambitious speculators. A dance floor was built on top of the stump as a tourist attraction and a bar and two lane bowling alley on its fallen trunk. The walk then continued through the heart of the park, the mammoth trees of the North Grove. The Sierra redwoods (also known as giant sequoias) are more massive then the coastal redwoods, but not as tall. The "Father of the Forest" is a massive redwood that fell long before Europeans arrived here. You can walk almost all the way through its hollow trunk. Another massive tree, named "Hercules", fell in a storm in 1881 and the path passes through a section of it. Knowing that Hercules blew over in 1861, and at the time it was ones of the largest in the grove, gives scientists a perspective on the age of other fallen trees in the grove. Roots of the fallen trees show that the Sierra redwoods have a shallow spreading root system (going down to only about 8') rather than a tap root. The root system, however, can cover an entire acre. The walk passes through a tunnel that was cut in the "Pioneer Cabin Tree" in the 1880's to compete for attention with Yosemite's Wawona Tree. The "Mother of the Forest" is the remains of a massive tree damaged when speculators removed the bark from the tree in 1854, mortally wounding it. The layer of tissue just below the bark carries manufactured sugars throughout the tree. The tree could not live for long with this layer removed. Without the bark, the tree lost resistance to fires and was charred by the fire of 1908.Three redwoods growing near each other towards the end of the walk were named for the Three Graces of Greek mythology.
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