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Sequoia Canopy, Sequoia National Park, CA
Hiking far along the Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park, the laughter and chatter of tourists eventually faded away, replaced by the soft patter of water droplets falling on the forest floor, a chickaree calling from within the mist of the dark canopy above. I could see the massive form of giants through the fog in every direction, dark towers that turned the color of rust as I approached them. Groups of giants huddled together, trunks that grew side by side for thousands of years, gathered in a sacred huddle as other trees rose and fell, as animals made homes in their soft bark, gave birth, died. Blackened trunks told of fires that swept through the forest, killing the weaker organisms, clearing the way for new growth, housecleaning through the centuries. Everywhere, piles of scales left by squirrels dissecting pinecones for nuts, leaving the remnants scattered about like an explosion had occurred. Somewhere, the calculated tap-tap-tapping of a woodpecker. Though I walk amongst these trees as if I was in a church and they were statues of Christ, this place is still a living, breathing forest. The animals go about their business, trees creak with growing pains, and I come and go, nothing more than a blip on the radar, just an ape with thumbs who was lucky enough to spend a moment in this wonderful, primeval landscape.
General Sherman Tree, Sequoia National Park, CA
Largest living tree by volume in the world. This tree has trees for branches.
The Chicago Stump is all that remains of the General Noble Tree, a 3,200-year-old sequoia that was chopped down, cut into pieces, and then shipped to the 1893 Worlds Fair in Chicago. The sole purpose of this travesty was to prove to skeptical Americans that a tree of such enormous size actually existed, or used to exist. To prove something is alive, one must kill it and display its’ corpse.