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October 10, 2006
After snapping a few photos, I walked the rest of the way down the trail to the tree. Looking up from the base of the tree, General Sherman seemed to go on forever! Although we had driven by several Sequoias on the way up the General's Highway, there is something about standing next to the biggest tree in the world that takes your breath away.Even if you only have a few hours in the park, this is a must. Children will love it, and everyone who visists Sequoia should have the obligatory photo of them with General Sherman.
From journal Fall Weekends in Sequoia National Park
by Gwilym Owen
November 27, 2002
Of these, General Sherman is the largest, making it the largest living thing in the entire world! Named in 1879 by admirers of the Civil War General, standing by its huge girth it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the fact that nothing else is as large anywhere and that you are truly standing before one of the living wonders of the world!
Check out these impressive stats:
General Sherman is 275'' (84 meters) tall, and 102.6'' (31.3 meters) in circumference at its base. Amazingly enough, the tree is still growing at 0.4 inches (1cm) every 10 years and is according to the US Geological Survey, 2,100-2,200 years ago and therefore around for the birth of Christ.
There are other taller trees in the world, the tallest tree in the world being the Coast Redwood, which averaging 300'' - 350'' (91.4 - 106.7 meters) in height, are significantly taller than the Giant Sequoias. These can be found along the coasts of Northern California and Oregon.
In Mexico, a cypress near Oaxaca has a greater circumference at 162'' (49.4 meters), however in sheer volume of wood, the General Sherman has no equal at 52,500 cubic feet (1486.6 cubic meters) of wood, thus earning the title of the World''s Largest Living Thing!
The oldest living things in the world are the Ancient Bristlecone Pines only a days drive away from General Sherman, "Methuselah" is the oldest at 4765 years old - more than double the age of General Sherman! Sadly the oldest known one was dated 4,900 years old after it had already been cut down to find out how old it was - it''s not often you find out you''ve killed the oldest living thing in the World!
We are lucky that General Sherman and the other Giant Sequoias are still with us as in the 19th century, logging firms moved into this area and started felling the huge trees. Ironically it was their sheer size and toughness that made it uneconomical for the loggers to continue cutting them down and they were left safe.
Another quirk is that Sequoia trees are resistant to fire, actually needing fire to crack open their cones for saplings to germinate. Park Rangers were puzzled that no new trees were growing until a fire raged through the national park years ago.
Giant Sequoias are only found in the High Sierras, and even then only at a height of between 5,000 and 7,000 feet.
From journal Home to the Largest Living Things on Earth