Southern Groves: Long Meadow, McIntyre, and Freeman Creek, 5/23-27/2020
What a nice extended holiday weekend we had up in the Sierras. We found the Redwood Meadow Campground near Trail of 100 Giants just opening, so we stayed there in a yurt. We had five days to wander and made the most of them. The first day we did about nine hours of hiking off trail and the second we did about five hours mostly off trail. By the third day Kathy asked me to give her something easier, so I offered up a nine-hour hike all on a trail--whereupon she told me she would be taking the next day off. So while she relaxed at the campsite, I did about six hours of all-off-trail exploring. The final day we did about 7 hours, mostly on trails, before heading down the hill. The times sound pretty strenuous, but they included rest stops, midday meals, and the occasional half-hour stop to measure a few large trees along the way.
One of our walks was in Trail of 100 Giants in Long Meadow, across from the campground where we were staying. On the paved tourist trail through there, we noted that another large tree has fallen across the Tumbled Twins. Guess that makes them the Tumbled Triplets, huh? In 2011, two over-200-foot-tall sequoias fell across the trail and the bridge over the stream. In 2019, another over-200-foot-tall tree fell crosswise across their boles and crushed a section of the recently built bridge around the Twins. The unlucky trail makers up there are going to have to build the tourist trail around the fallen trees again. I took a long walk off trail up the watercourse to see more trees farther up in the grove, away from the more trafficked sections.
From the eastern side of Freeman Creek Grove, we took a hike looking for Loren's Tree, but we didn’t find it. We walked past a lot of large trees, and I measured the largest one I saw (~21,100 cubic feet), but I don’t think that was Loren's Tree. I suspect I didn’t go far enough up the watershed. Guess I will have to take another run at it next trip and try going higher up. I did take down some measurements on the Ride-Through Tree; it seems to be just under 23k cubic feet. I also measured the first large tree on this trail, the Rattler Tree, and it is just under 20k cubic feet.
We took the Coy Flat Trail up to the Patriarch Tree. The largest tree I measured on this walk was a short walk above the Patriarch Tree; it appears to be about 27,900 cubic feet. That should put it about #50 on the list I have. I thought it was a big tree the first time I saw it, and I've been meaning to go back to it and check out its numbers ever since. It is not very tall, only about 200 feet high; however, at 193 feet, nearly its top, it is still 10 feet in diameter. If it had not lost a sizeable portion of its uphill base to fire, it would be much larger and give the Patriarch a run for its money. If the missing wood from that burn were replaced or counted, the tree would likely pass 30k cubic feet in volume.
I took Kathy to the Bannister Tree since she had not seen it yet. We found a little snow inside the Telescope Tree near there. That’s a really nice area with a few really large trees.
Some popular trees we measured on this trip:
George W. Bush Tree: 16,600 cubic feet Large one above Patriarch: 27,900 cubic feet Proclamation Tree: 24,500 cubic feet Rattler Tree: 19,600 cubic feet Ride-Through Tree: 22,900 cubic feet Sierra Ghost in Freeman Creek: 21,400 cubic feet
Oh, and Kathys score this trip: 1 bear and 10 deer.
Long Meadow Grove pics
Above upper left: the Proclamation Tree. Center top: Spike. The rest are interesting trees in Long Meadow Grove. Below, before and after pictures of the Tumbled Twins and the new fallen one lying across them.
McIntyre Grove pics
Above upper-left and center: the Patriarch Tree. Top right: Large sequoia above Patriarch. Lower row, the Matriarch and her nursery.
Freeman Creek Grove pics
Above top row: Bannister Tree. Middle row: Great Goshawk. Bottom row: Rattler Tree Below top row: George W. Bush Tree and Sierra Ghost. Bottom row: a double tree and a large sequoia above Great Goshawk.
Below is the amazing Ride-Through Tree
Below are some views of the Telescope Tree near Great Goshawk