Thankful for...Really Big Trees!

Posted on November 24, 2018 by Ed Coughlin

Booker T Washington once said "Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon."

On a day to day basis I couldn't agree more with Mr. Washington.  But on some recent hikes, on opposite ends of this great nation, I found happiness in "large", "remote", and "uncommon".

Muir Woods, federally protected as a National Monument since 1908, might not be home to the "record holders" when it comes to California's Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), but this old growth forest is more than reachable with a short drive from anywhere in San Francisco.

There's no cell service in or around the forest, so even though your close to civilization, you are immediately put into a solitary state of mind.

It rains a lot here, especially in winter.  Rainfall averages are around 50" a year, but on this winter day the trail was dry and the company was good.

Any gardener worth his or her salt will tell you a plant is only as good as the soil it stands in.  At the feet of these giants is a dark brown, humus-rich loam.  A mix of gravel, stone, and sand help aerate those large roots and drain away some of that winter water.

Redwoods can grow to nearly 400' tall, but most in Muir are around 250'  The trees in the park are between 500 and 800 years old.  The oldest is at least 1,200 years old!

Not nearly a statistically impressive as a California Redwoods is a massive (20'  wide at its base) Poplar on the one-mile marker of the Bear Creek Trail in Ellijay, GA. 

A great day hike down a mossy fern-filled creek valley brings you to the Gennett Poplar.  Approaching its 500th birthday, the 100' giant dwarfs its neighboring hemlocks and rhododendrons.

The Gennett Poplar was sparred from logging by the valley's landowners during a massive deforestation that took place in the South during the 19th and 20th centuries. 

One final argument against Booker T's proclamation that "success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things".  Did you know that the tallest tree ever measured was a Eucalyptus?  In 1872 forester William Ferguson found a E. regnans in Victoria, Austrailia that measured 435' tall! 

On our next blog: Belgium's Stubby Trees!

 

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