Tragedy struck on Sunday the 8th of January this year when a beloved ancient giant met its demise in wild storms.
The heavy rainfall, estimated to be measured at around 10cm, caused surrounding flooding, de-stabling the ground around it.
Experts suggested that it was barely living any more anyhow. It had barely any life showing in it and had become brittle, so what happened to it was sadly not entirely unexpected.
For over 1000 years, an awe-inspiring giant Sequoia Tree has stood in the Californian Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Named the Pioneer Cabin Tree, it has been an undeniable favorite with curious tourists for centuries. It had a hollowed out trunk which had formed as a result of being struck repeatedly by lighting and suffering forest fires.
Historically, when the land was still privately owned during the 1880s, the then owner requested that a local hotelier named James Sperry have a tunnel cut through to the other side in order that fascinated tourists could pass through.
It was intended that this ancient giant would become a tourist attraction to rival the Wawona Tree at Yosemite.
So wide in fact was this tunnel, even cars could pass through it. It’s increasing fragility has meant that in modern times only hikers have been permitted to access it during their exploration of the almost 2.5km trails that weave around the forest.
Pioneer Cabin Tree was so named because of it’s internal comparisons to a log cabin – though it was never lived in as one. The burnt out center was reminiscent of a chimney. It had met with early tragedy in 1857, when half of the tree came away at around the 45m mark.
The initial height prior to 1857 is now unknown, but in 1900 the United States Forest Service recorded it as having been 85m tall. For reference, other giant sequoias have been known to generally reach a height of around 80m. This historic landmark also contained the etched names of passing tourists, but this practice became forbidden in 1930.
It is uncertain what will happen to the remains of this giant, the park is currently closed to visitors as the flooding in the area has made it unsafe. Meanwhile the area of it’s fall is being cleaned up.
It is doubted that much of it’s remains will be removed, as the park has a policy to preserve the trees within it for reasons such as being able to calculate the age of the trees. Some sections of the giant remain intact, but it is no longer possible to pass through the famous, almost 140-year-old tunnel.