Giant Sequoia, Yosemite National Park
This tree was in the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park. Most people think this tree is in Sequoia National Park. So the people there in Sequoia get lots of questions about it. So in their FAQ, they say
The tunnel through Yosemite's famous Wawona Tree was cut in 1881 as a tourist attraction. It was the second standing sequoia to be tunneled (the first, a dead tree, still stands in the Tuolumne Grove in Yosemite). The Wawona Tree stood for 88 summers before it fell during the severe winter of 1968-69. Factors leading to its failure include heavy snow, wet soil, and, of course, the weakening effect of the tunnel. When it fell, the Wawona Tree was approximately 2,100 years old, 234 feet high (71.3 meters), and 26 feet in diameter at the base (7.9 meters). The famous tunnel was 7 feet wide, 9 feet high and 26 feet long at the base (2.1 meters by 2.7 meters by 7.9 meters).
Fondest memory: I visited Yosemite with my mother and dad in the early 60s and one of the things we did was drive through this tree. People have been doing that for hundreds of years before us, but you can't do this anymore because the tree fell in the winter of 68/69.
There are three other redwoods that you can drive through but they are privately owned and charge a fee to do it. There is also a tree in Sequoia NP that fell across the road in late 1937 and that people can also drive through
Favorite thing: I remember when I was a child in the 1970's, I dreamed of going to California and driving in a car through a giant redwood tree. On the east coast of the U.S., that was one of the stock travel images of the Sierra Nevada, and I really expected to be able to do it someday. Indeed, through most of the early days of Yosemite National Park, it was possible to drive through a tree and many people did it. However, Sequoia roots are close to the surface of the ground, and the constant traffic was (duh!) not terribly good for the tree's health (not to mention that the huge hole in the tree didn't promote stability either). In Yosemite, there were two such trees -- one in the upper grove and this one in the lower grove that served as the winter back-up tree. In 1969, the tree in the upper Mariposa Grove fell over in a storm (surprised?). Not long after that, the custom of driving through trees ceased, leaving this less trafficked tree standing as a reminder of a less environmentally-enlightened time. You can hike to this tree in less than a mile.
Favorite thing: The photo shows the four giant sequoias named "Bachelor and Three Graces" near the entrance of Mariposa Grove, but I don't know the story behind their names. There are many huge sequoias like these to make your walk interesting. The trail in Mariposa Grove is relatively flat and leisurely. It's constantly in the shade (thanks to the sequoias) and full of huge surprises. If you get tired from walking, you can always take the tram back for a small fee.
Fondest memory: In Mariposa Grove - lovely hiking paths and even a train that will take you through - you´ll find most of the Sequoias. In old pictures you can see cars actually driving through the trunk of one of the trees - now that tree has fallen, I believe, but there´s still one with a gate in it!
Fondest memory: The Giant Sequoias only grow in a few spots. They are very sensitive to human influences and can get incredibly old. The Grizzly Giant is one of the biggest and oldest trees. My sister is standing beneath it - can you spot her?