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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tree Facts

I love trees. I love looking at them, planting and growing them, walking through them. I was discussing some of the incredible stories about trees from the book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson with some friends last week. In that conversation, someone said they knew of trees more than 1000 feet tall. That seemed unbelievable to me so I did some research. Did you know?:

The tallest trees in the world (from Wikipedia):
Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens: 115.55 m (379.1 ft.), Redwood National Park, California

Coast Douglas-fir Pseudotsuga menziesii: 100.3 m (329.1 ft.), Brummit Creek, Coos County, Oregon

Australian Mountain-ash Eucalyptus regnans: 97.0 m (318.2 ft.), Styx Valley, Tasmania

Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis: 96.7 m (317.3 ft.), Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum: 94.9 m (307.1 ft.), Redwood Mountain Grove, Kings Canyon National Park, California

There used to be taller trees (some documented at 500 feet), but many have been lost to fire, natural disasters and man.

The largest girth in diameter, excluding baobabs (because they hold water and vary widely over time), are:

Montezuma Cypress Taxodium mucronatum: 11.42 m, Árbol del Tule, Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico

Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum: 8.85 m, General Grant tree, Grant Grove, California

Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens: 7.44 m, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

And the largest in overall volume are:

Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum: 1489 m³, General Sherman
Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens: 1045 m³, Del Norte Titan tree

Western Redcedar Thuja plicata: 500 m³, Quinault Lake Redcedar

Kauri Agathis australis: 400 m³, Tane Mahuta tree (total volume, including branches, 516.7 m³)

Oldest trees are (and this blew my mind!!) are:

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine Pinus longaeva: 4844 years
Alerce Fitzroya cupressoides: 3622 years
Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum: 3266 years
Huon-pine Lagarostrobos franklinii: 2500 years
Rocky Mountains Bristlecone Pine Pinus aristata: 2435 years

Here is a link to the largest trees in the Houston area: http://www.parkpeople.org/parkpeople/Tree_Registry.asp?SnID=2


At Thu Jan 24, 02:12:00 AM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This month, I found the Grove of Titans, with the Lost Monarch. It was my 12th hike or exploration into the Jedediah Smith Redwoods last year. 11 times for fun, and once to find the titans.

Although an approach from the south can be somewhat shorter, any titan hunters should approach from Hy. 199 where the discoverers parked, and find a creek, then proceed south into the park.

That's because no landmarks are written about regarding the very end. Not in a dot-to-dot style.

Richard Preston's book The Wild Trees writes some terrain details in sort of a dot-to-dot fashion approaching from the north, from Hy. 199.

There is a ton of poison oak in the park, from shrub size to vines over 150 feet high. How deep into the park bears roam, is unknown.

It's doubtful that someone can't get out in two days if not the same day. Its only 2.8 miles x 4 miles. But you have to have a compass and food in case you get roadblocked a few times and need to spend one night.

We went deep into the woods and got roadblocked by huge logs several times. You can't climb over them sometimes, and its very steep to get around them.

It's not an impossible task, but expect bruises, bumps and welts - just like the book said the explorers got.

Anyhow - it's true, the trees are there and they are massively enormous.

Once again, park on Hy. 199 and try to start with the same landmarks Preston mentioned in the book. The discoverers obviously ended the day of discovery south in Stout Grove, but the "dots" as to how they got there are unwritten. So trying to reverse the route is very impractical.

Invest the extra hours and approach from Hy. 199. There is parking near where Hy. 199 crosses the Smith River bridge where Hiouchi trail starts, or a bit west near Simpson Reed Discovery Trail.

Remember to move slow in the woods. Bears don't like people, and if you don't startle them, they can run away. But if you explore plunging through the woods quick, you could startle wildlife.

So, bring meals ready to eat, leave matches at home, have a sleeping bag and compass, and you should be set.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon



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