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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Really Big Trees!

Ready for a good old fashioned trail hike?
After the last three days of sharing our trip to Murphys California, a charming town in the Sierra's and named the Queen of the Sierra's as a matter of fact. We decided to travel on up Hwy 4 and visit Calaveras Big Trees State Park. With the threat of many of our wonderful state parks being closed in 2012, we wanted a chance to visit one of our states treasures. 

A map of the area we were in. Spot Murphys, near #2 and travel up to #5.
A Brief History of Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Calaveras became a State Park in 1931 to preserve the North Grove of giant sequoias. This grove includes the "Discovery Tree", also known as the "Big Stump", the first Sierra redwood noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852. This area has been a major tourist attraction ever since, and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California.

Over the years, other parcels of mixed conifer forests have been added to the park.
*gathered from LINK

We had a limited time so decided to follow the most popular trail, The North Grove Trail.....
The trail through the North Grove is a gentle, well-marked loop about 1 1/2miles (2.3 km) long. Allow at least one hour for your walk through this magnificent, historically significant grove. Audio tapes for the North Grove are available on loan for visually impaired visitors. Ask at the Visitor Center.

Sights to see on the North Grove Trail .The Big Stump - Augustus T. Dowd was chasing a wounded grizzly bear into an unfamiliar forest. Suddenly he was stopped in his tracks by an unbelievable sight  a tree of monstrous proportions that was easily three times larger than any he had even seen.

Also, the North grove offers viewing of Sugar Pines, White Fir, Incense Cedar and Ponderosa Pines in their natural settings.

Inside of the grove you will find markers along the trail that explains and give history of some of the more spectacular trees such as the Three Graces of Greek mythology, The Pioneer Cabin Tree, The Abraham Lincoln tree, The Sacrificial Tree, The Father of the Forest, Old Bachelor tree, Siamese Twins and the Granite State Tree. Views of giant sequoias' with special twists and formations can be seen.

Continue and view the Empire State tree, plus giant redwoods viewed where they fell. You will cross the Big Tree Creek, which drains the North Grove basin. Although this creek in tiny, it is able to support a population of native trout. Sierra redwood groves are always located near a reliable source of water.

In the spring, view the spectacular mountain dogwoods in bloom. The sight of all the dogwoods in bloom contrasted against the forest and giant redwoods is a sight unparalleled.

As you travel along the North Grove trail, notice the pine cones and wildlife in the surrounding area. Each is important to the natural cycle of the forest and must be left where they lie.* Info gathered from: LINK

And we begin....

Already in heaven!The quiet, the beauty!

A hint of the trees to come!

Always important to know where the restrooms are *giggle*
One of the first things we see is a tree stump so large that it can be used as a stage!

The back side.

Just amazing!!
Just shows how very BIG the tree is/was. I know odds are good those "orbs" are dust, moisture, maybe bugs...but have to wonder if they are not spirits of past explorers? Hmmmm, just a thought!

The surrounding area around the stump.

The trail continues....

Did my best to capture the trees, often took 2-3 photos!Look up from here!

I love the natural art formation this downed tree stump/roots created!

Isn't just amazing what nature creates???

Get ready for is BIG!Scroll down three pics to look up the tree.

Not perfectly lined up, but you get the idea!
This is a bench at marker 11 that leans back and you can see two trees called "The Mother and Son" the trees below ....most of the trees on the path that are marked have names, 26 markers in all.I highly suggest if you visit to spend the 50 cents for the pamphlet that describe what you are seeing.Keep scrolling all the way down...blogger was messing with me today and the spacing is way off...sorry bout that!

You still with me??? I know it is a lot of trees. This is only a small portion of all the photos I took,it was so beautiful I simply could not help it!I think this is a perfect place to stop for today.I do hope you will come back for the rest of the visual tour...though it is just a small part of what we saw, God's or Mother Natures (depending what you believe in) is in every photo.

Till tomorrow....

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