The Evans tree pictured above. Believe it or not this is the view of its good side.
My backpacking trip to Evans Grove to see its namesake tree and its present condition went very well. I found the Evans and the other trees I was hoping to and also got a decent set of measurements on the Evans volume, which were my primary goals.
Beforehand I was hoping that some of the back roads in the area would have opened to more than just foot travel, as that would have reduced the hiking quite a bit, but that didn’t happen. However, it wasn’t an extraordinarily long walk in, just strenuous carrying all that I needed for a few days in the backpack. I definitely overpacked in the water department because I had not been there before and was not sure how much the streams would provide in the way of liquid rations at this time of the year. That made my pack heavier than it should have been, and the pathless part of my hike was more technical having such a big pack too.
I took the first day to walk into the grove, and I did it a little bit differently than most probably do: I walked as far on the road as I could go to get nearest to the grove (about four miles) and then I took a turn-off and went cross-country, cutting straight down the ridge toward the logging road that goes through the grove area. Just a quarter to half mile cross-country-ing ended me up in Windy Gulch (the next stream to the west of Evans Creek) near the former Camp Seven location. That is only a half mile or so by the old logging road from the Evans Grove area I wanted to explore.
I spent the nights in Evans Grove in my tent hammock. There is a nice fire ring just before the end of the logging road and I found water in plenty in the nearby streams; I needn’t have worried about that (or carried that much in the pack, it turns out). I slung my food bag from a high branch when I slept and took my exploration walks and never saw anything more threatening than a fox or bigger than a deer the whole time. I didn’t see another person the whole three days while I was on the trip either, but that’s okay; I get along with myself pretty well.
I did well on the exploration, and it was surprisingly easy to find my goals. I knew of only about three specific trees in the grove that I wanted to find, and I located all three right away. I would say the directions in Flint’s book were good. It was exactly where I looked, maybe twice as far from the road as he said, but right as far as the overall directions were concerned other than that.
The Evans Tree is looking a bit the worse for wear; it must have suffered some in the Rough Fire a few years ago. I measured it from its only remaining good side and it’s a bit thinner and somewhat shorter than I remember from the last measurements I saw in Flint’s book. On the uphill side it seems to have a bit more burned away and I expect it is a lot more hollow than it was before the fire. Still, it remains standing, and that is good. I measured it to verify the rumors that it has lost volume and because I will want to know where to re-place it on the list. From my calculations, it came out at 25,506 cubic feet. Unfortunately, it will fall a bit in the standings.
The rest of the day I just wandered around seeing the grove. It’s a nice sequoia showplace, with a lot of decent-sized trees, uniquely characterized as they are by their environment, but with quite a bit of fire damage still evident. My ropes all came back blackened with old charcoal in spite of the fire being years ago. I did notice during my walks that there were many small sequoia trees coming up in the grove for those fond of silver linings.
The Flying Buttress Tree is obvious, and you pass it on the way from the road end to the Evans Tree. It’s remarkable with a 95-foot circumference on the ground, though it’s not a big or very old tree. It will have small volume, so I didn’t measure it.
The large tree that I heard was near the Flying Buttress is also in poor shape; it must have taken the fire badly also. It now has a good side and a completely burned side—we may have to start calling it Two-Face. It was once a big one also, but so much of it is burned away that there was no point in measuring anything, except possibly the base circumferences on it to get a feel for its former glory.
The third day I walked out of the grove, this time taking the long, circuitous route along the old logging road all the way out instead of going cross-country. That would have been uphill, and with all the pack, well … very trying. It took a lot of uphill plodding to get out. I went past Windy Gulch Grove and Lockwood Grove, and I took only small side walks into them, not seeing much but old stumps and snags because I was focused on walking out and wanted to spend my energy on that. All in all, it was a good trip. I made my goals and got in a bit of exploration through the area too.
Upper row: The Evans tree and Flying Buttress tree, Bottom two: the large half burned one near the Flying Buttress tree.