Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Moment of Quiet in a Forest of California Sierra Mountain Giant Sequoia Trees

On the way up into the California Sierra mountains, in the mixed conifer forest between Dinkey Creek and  Courtright Reservoir, is a grove of Sequoia Trees that have never been logged. 

McKinley Grove is a small grove, but they are giant trees. Giant sequoias, Sequoiadendron giganteum, are the world's largest trees.  They only grow between 5,000 to 8,000 feet elevation.  

As early as 1869, or maybe from the trees point of view, as late as 1869, ( they are after all  among the oldest living things on the earth, as some of them are estimated to be 2,000 years old)  this grove was discovered by explorers. 

 A local pioneer and lover of the Sierras, Frank Dusy, named it the "General Washington Grove."  Later, for a time, the name was changed to  "Dusy Grove" to honor Dusy who died in 1898.  There is still a creek named Dusy Creek.  The grove remained in the public domain until the establishment of the Sierra Forest Reserve in 1893.  In the early 1900's it was renamed by Robert Marshal  in recognition of the 25th president of the United States.  Robert Marshal had a doctorate in forestry and the vision to protect the grove.  The  Forest Service continues to manage and  preserve this rare and historical resource.

                                      The tallest tree towers over 230 feet.

 And no matter how good of a hugger you might be, you can't wrap your arms around the diameter of these trees.  The largest tree still standing in the grove is 20.3 feet in diameter.  There are over two hundred trees that are over  6 feet in diameter.   These three folks, like many other people, had their photo taken in front of one of the trees. While I trust they don't mind being used to establish relative size, I believe their identities shall remain one of the mysteries of the Sierras.  

                                    Mark has unabashedly agreed to pose on this lovely tree foot for us...and he helped me figure out what the circumference of such a tree would be using pi (3.14) x the diameter = 63.8 feet.  

This was the second time I have seen the grove.  We stopped but briefly and then it was time to wind on up another several thousand feet to our destination.  I'll hope to post some more photos  taken over the next three days and a bit about the Courtright area.  In the meantime, you can see the post and pictures from last year's visit here.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a bit about the history of this place. I wondered last year how the granite sloped lovely creek called "Dinkey" got it's name and writing up this post tonight I found two different stories.  While the two versions differ, they both agree that Dinkey was a dog.  In one recounting Dinkey the dog was out with four hunters who got into a fight with a bear and Dinkey was injured near the creek.
In several archives I found that Frank Dusy had a summer residence at Dinkey creek and one story says he named the creek after his dog.   A bear story is also associated with him.  Follow the link on his name up above if you would like to know more of that story.

It must have been quite an adventure discovering and exploring this terrain in those days.  Even  powering  up a paved road in a comfortable car  I certainly was in awe.  

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