We had another great day in Yosemite National Park. This time we visited the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Mariposa Grove was first visited by non-natives in 1857 when Galen Clark and Milton Mann found it. Giant sequoia trees (equoiadendron gigantea) are found in three groves in Yosemite National Park. We chose Mariposa Grove which is the largest grove of these "big trees" in Yosemite. Mariposa Grove's Grizzly Giant, 1800 years old, is thought to be Yosemite's oldest living sequoia. It is along the Mariposa Grove's main trail, less than a one-mile hike from the parking area.
We chose the tram tour that took us on a one hour drive through the groves for the price of $24 each. It was worth every penny. Most of the pictures had to be taken from the tram, but we did have a few ten minute stops to view the Grizzly Giant, the California Tunnel Tree and the Mariposa Grove Museum. The Mariposa Grove Museum is a cabin that occupies the site where Galen Clark built a small cabin in 1864. Inside are exhibits on the ecology and history of giant sequoias, as well as books and postcards for sale.
We saw eight deer in the park and a bunch of small animals we think were chipmunks. They went in and out of their holes too fast to see for sure. :-) I am adding a paste from Wikipedia explaining all the trees we saw today. Photos will be added for the next two days so please check back later. Our internet is still very slow. More later from California.
Paste: Noteworthy trees
Some of the trees found in the grove that are worthy of special note are:
The Fallen Monarch: A tree that fell more than three hundred years ago (Giant Sequoias are resistant to decay, so their remains can linger for an unknown period of time, if undisturbed).
The Bachelor and Three Graces: A group of four trees, three of them growing very close together, with a fourth a little more distant. Their roots are so intertwined that if one of them were to fall, it would likely bring the others along with it.
The Grizzly Giant: The oldest tree in the grove and most commonly thought to be the largest tree in the grove but that title goes to a less inspiring tree named "Washington" 35,950 cubic feet (1,018 m3) of wood belong to the "Washington" Tree whilst the "Grizzly Giant" only holds 34,010 cubic feet (963 m3).
The California Tunnel Tree: Cut in 1895 to allow coaches to pass through it (and as a marketing scheme to attract visitors to the grove), this is the only living tree with a tunnel in it since the fall of the Wawona Tunnel Tree in 1969.
Washington Tree: The Largest tree in the grove at 35,950 cubic feet (1,018 m3)
The Faithful Couple: A rare case in which two trees grew so close together that their trunks have fused together at the base.
The Clothespin Tree: Countless fires throughout the decades nearly severed this tree's trunk, creating a space in it large enough for a pick-up truck to drive through.
The Telescope Tree: A tree that repeated fires, down the decades, have left completely hollow. In spite of that, the tree is still living, as Giant Sequoias do not require a whole trunk to survive. It is possible to walk inside the tree and, from there, see the sky. Similarly to the Clothespin Tree, this condition leaves the tree weakened and makes it more difficult for it to withstand strong winds. For that, this tree (and the Clothespin Tree) could topple at any time.
The Columbia Tree: The tallest tree in the grove and in Yosemite National Park.
The Galen Clark Tree: Of historical importance, it is supposed to have been the first tree seen by Galen Clark upon his entrance in the grove, and which would have inspired his love for the Giant Sequoias that would drive him to struggle for the setting aside of land for preservation, something that was unheard of in the mid-19th century.
The Wawona Tunnel Tree: Renamed to "The Fallen Tunnel Tree" after it toppled over during a snow storm in 1969. This was the first tree to have a tunnel carved through its trunk, in 1881. Its collapse is seen as a turning point in the preservation of wildlife in National Parks in the United States. So grave was the shock of its collapse that it brought about a greater awareness of how sensitive an ecosystem can be, even in regard to beings as massive as the Giant Sequoias.
The Fallen Giant: It was one of the largest trees in the grove, until it fell, in 1873.
The Massachusetts Tree: It was one of the most famous trees in the grove. It fell in 1927.