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Experiencing the Giant Sequoia

Giant SequoiaTy and Melanie drove us about an hour east of their home in Stockton, into the western Sierra Nevada to Calaveras Big Trees State Park to see, and experience, the Giant Sequoia, also known as the Sierra Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum). We learned that Giant Sequoias are the largest organisms to have ever lived on the Earth. Sierrra redwood is very tough wood due to its high tannin content that repels insects; amazingly enough, trees that had fallen down in the 1800s were still largely intact more than a century later!

It was a real lesson in the relationship that people have to the environment; the first thing that white people did upon discovering the Giant Sequoias in the Calaveras North Grove was to cut one down! Today’s people are evidently no better as we saw a large group of visitors climbing on the trees and straying off the path despite signs that told visitors to stay on the path and off the trees to avoid damaging their relatively fragile root systems. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70s. Therefore, I was surprised to find snow on the ground even in late March!

Earlier in the day, we checked out the small, but charming gold rush towns of Murpheys and Angels Camp. Angels Camp is the inspiration for Mark Twain’s short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Evidently, the town of Angels Camp still has Jumping Frog contests since we saw plaques in the street commemorating the victorious frog in each years’ competition. In the evening, we walked to Pacific Avenue where we dined on yummy Vietnamese food. Angels Camp was a sleepy little town, probably more authentic of the two, while Murpheys was full of restaurants, boutiques, and winery wine tasting rooms. In Angels Camp we noticed signs for a Bead Show at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds (a.k.a. Frogtown USA), so Melanie and I had to feed our habit–while allowing David and Ty to see the location of the annual frog jumping content.

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  1. Melanie
    March 25th, 2007 at 20:35 | #1

    Suzanne and David were delightful guests. CA took a real liking to them and has put forth a formal request for their relocation due to the derth of pharmacologists and web designers in the region. The Triangle would miss them, but they’d be a welcome addition to the “Golden State.”

  2. Stan Kurtzer
    April 11th, 2007 at 20:41 | #2

    I’m jealous. Giant trees would be one of my musts on a trip to norther ca.

    What do you think about your da, nifong. the state da reamed him a new one. that should be the end of his career; it still does damage to the three lacrosse players. two dropped out of duke. too bad for everybody concerned.

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