Mariposa Sequoia Groves

Trip Start Apr 04, 2007
Trip End Apr 15, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, April 7, 2007

We started our day with a beautiful drive back to Yosemite. We are staying in Oakhurst which is about 16 miles south of the southern entrance to Yosemite. We decided to go to the Mariposa Groves. This grove is home to the Giant Sequoia trees. They say that these trees are not the oldest or tallest trees in the world but they are bigger than any living thing I have seen. These Sequoias are believed to be nearly 3000 years old. The average height is 250 ft. with a base diameter of 15 to 20 feet and their bark is two feet thick! These Sequoias are hardy being resistant to disease, insects and fire. We were so impressed with the Sequoias in the parking lot and began taking pictures right away and then we started our 5 mile hike through the upper and lower groves. Unbelievable!!! As we were walking down the path admiring this majestic trees we looked ahead and could not believe our eyes. There was the Grizzly Giant the largest tree in the grove. This tree is estimated to be 2700 years old, 200 feet high and had a 30 foot base. The branches on this tree were at least 6 to 7 feet in circumference. The roots on these Sequoias are very shallow being only about 6 feet under ground which is why the roots spread about 150 feet out from the tree. The pine cones from these mighty Sequoias are very small. It takes 2 years for the pine cones to mature and they usually stay on the tree for 20-30 years with adverse weather conditions knocking them off the tree. There are at least 200 seeds within the pine cone and when they drop there are millions of seeds and very few germinate. Natural fire in the forest is good. It will get rid of a lot of the canopy allowing sun to get to the forest floor. This sunlight and the rich soil left from the fire is a great recipe for new growth on the forest floor. We saw evidence of past forest fires throughout the groves. In 1881 a tunnel was cut through one of these beautiful trees millions of people drove through this tree first in horse carriages and then in cars. In 1969 the Wawona Tunnel Tree collapsed under a record snow pack probably weakened by the hole in the base. We passed this fallen tree on our hike. We passed a tree that was completely hollow all the way up caused by fire but the tree was still alive! Kevin and I stood in the middle of this huge tree and we could see daylight from the top of its long trunk. This tree is called the Telescope Tree. There were so many unique trees in these groves and we have many pictures to share with you. It is hard to imagine any trees bigger than these but they say the trees in the Sequoia National Park are bigger. I guess we will see as we are going there in a couple of days. Tomorrow we hike the Yosemite Valley.
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