Day 291 – Sequoia National Park, October 3, 2011
So this morning I left Kings Canyon National Park and headed
south to Sequoia National Park. On the
way, we passed by the world’s largest Sequoia Grove. The grove covers five square miles and contains
over 2,100 sequoias larger than ten feet in diameter. I wonder who counted that.
As we continued on through the forest, we eventually reached
the General Sherman Tree which is the largest tree in the world in terms of
volume, 52,500 cubic feet. There might
be taller, wider, or older trees, but no other tree in the world has more wood
in its trunk than the Sherman Tree. Its
top is dead, thus the trunk no longer grows taller, but it still grows wider
adding wood equal to another good sized tree every year.
Its girth is 103 feet, it weighs 1,385 tons and it is
approximately 2,200 years old. Its first
branch is 180 feet from the ground and its largest branch is 6.8 feet in
diameter. If its trunk were filled with
water, it would provide for 9,844 baths or one every day for 27 years. Looking up at the tree for a six-foot human
is about the equivalent of a mouse looking up at a six-foot human. The General Sherman tree is about 1,000 years
younger than the oldest known sequoia, but is larger simply due to its location
and ideal growing conditions.
After taking the mile roundtrip to the tree, we moved on to
Hospital Rock. Hospital Rock is
decorated with painted designs by the Patwisha Indians. Their meaning is unknown. Hospital Rock was given its name in 1873, 10
years after the Indian village was abandoned.
Alfred Everton was hunting with George Cahoon, when Everton was shot in
the leg upon stumbling over the rifle-set they were preparing for bear. A doctor treated Everton at this village
site, thus the rocks namesake.
Nearby Hospital Rock is another large rock full of mortar
holes. Indian women ground acorns with
five to ten pound pestles in these holes.
The tribes in this area depended on acorns as their primary source of
food. Each family collected one or more
tons of acorns each year. Before the
acorns could be safely eaten, they had to be leached to get rid of the poisonous
tannin. Hot water was poured over the
acorn meal in a leaf-lined sand pit until the meal no longer tasted
Since 1865, no Patwishas have lived in this village. They seemed to have vanished with their
past. Causes other than war such as
small pox, measles, scarlet fever, loss of hunting territory, and broken spirit
killed or dispersed the Indians. In fact,
the impact of civilization on Indian cultures and most tribes was
disastrous. From 1770 to 1910, the
Indian population of central California declined from 32,500 to 3,125.
After our morning in the park, we headed south to
Bakersfield, took advantage of the showers at 24 Hour Fitness, and then turned
east toward Barstow…on my way home. Many thanks to all my followers…I will be sure to make a
final post upon arriving in Texas…ETB