Hiking L.A.

Blogged: September 11, 2006

Boole Tree - Sequoia Nat'l Park

Hiked September 2, 2006

BF's sister, NM, visited us last week. She is a NICU nurse in Erie, PA, and she was interested in visiting a bona-fide children's hospital, so we took a trip up to Fresno so she could check out my dad's workplace, Children's Hospital Central California.

We also decided to show NM some of Sequoia National Park. NM wasn't quite in a state to hike long distances, so we chose a shorter hike. We decided to hike to Boole Tree, theoretically the largest tree (by volume) in any national forest. This is theoretical, because different sources give me different data. Our hiking book said it was the largest, but Wikipedia claims it's the 6th-largest, and yet another web site says it's the 8th-largest. Bottom line: it's a freakin' big ass tree. Excuse my lack of literary prowess, but that's the truth.

So Dad, BF, NM, and I drove up to the park, less than two hours outside of Fresno. The hike was supposed to be an out-and-back two miler according to our hiking book. When we got to the trailhead, we saw that we could instead do a 2.5 mile loop that would provide nice views of Kings Canyon. We opted for the extra half mile and the better views.

At the start of the trail, you climb almost the entire 600 feet in a mile. The scene is very pastoral at the beginning:


And a cool piece of flora BF spotted:


As you head up the hill, the woods get thicker and the sunlight filters through all the big trees. Just when it was starting to get really dark, we came to a fork in the trail and saw a sign pointing to the right. It said "Trail". We debated the meaning of this sign for a few moments before BF ran ahead to check things out. When he returned, we all agreed that "Trail" was to be interpreted as "Trail spur to go see the Boole Tree."

For once, we were actually right in our trail navigation. We followed the spur a few hundred feet to find the massive Boole Tree. According to the mostly-trustworthy Wikipedia, the Boole tree is 268.8 feet high and 113 feet in circumference. In volumetric terms, that's 317,733 gallons. My car could travel 9,531,990 miles on that!

Look at NM and myself standing in front of the tree, and you'll believe it's huge (I'm the one pointing to the heavens):


Because the tree is so large, it's not very easy to photograph. Never afraid of a challenge, BF stepped up with his digital SLR and shot away. This is a pretty cool shot up through a charred hole in the side of the tree:


Giant Sequoias have a unique ability to survive forest fires. Seeing as they live thousands of years, this is a necessary trait. The reason they can have charred-out insides and still persevere is because of the way they transport water from their roots to their leaves. Essentially, all a Giant Sequoia needs to survive is a few inches of its outer rings (and enough of a root system to keep it from toppling over). This is why many Giant Sequoia trees have large burned portions on their trunks.

BF decided to do a sideways panorama of the tree. He took a bunch of pics and stitched them together, to get this awesomely distorted shot:


Having circled the tree a few times, we all decided to get on with our hike. We looped around and got a cool view of beautiful Kings Canyon:


It was a hazy day, so the next huge vista we got wasn't particularly camera-friendly, but it was beautiful nonetheless:


We were back at the car before we knew it, and with daylight fading, we decided to visit the sequoia grove to see some more massive trees. BF caught the sunset reflecting off the Oregon Tree:


Once the sun set, we headed back to Fresno. We stopped over at my stepmom's house to eat some Thai takeout (NM can't get Thai food in Erie, so she was very excited about this meal) and hang out with my stepbrothers. Incidentally, my stepmom introduced me to a wonderful new dessert. It involves hollowing out a strawberry, pouring butterscotch schnapps into the cavity, topping it with whipped cream, and popping the whole concoction into your mouth. I highly recommend it.


At 12:59 PM, Blogger Shanna said...

Um, that strawberry dessert sounds amazing.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Ollyzontal said...

Kings Canyon and Sequoia are awesome places. We have just come back from a 3 week trip hiking and camping in a variety of US National Parks.

As Brits, we were very impressed in how they are run and maintained. Check out a few of our blogs. We are also quite lazy in posting them up as we are out and about quite often!

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