Photos by Shann Rupp
This little used route, opened in 1856, branched off the West Fork of the Carson River at Hope Valley, going south to Sonora.
Rust from the wagon wheels scraping the rocks is found along this
segment of the Big Tree Route.
Although the road was very rocky, it is thought that 150 years ago the rocks on the trail were covered with earth which has since washed away. Here Judy Allen and Dave Johnson were mapping the trail.
“…ever and anon new surprises of grandeur and beauty and scenes of sylvan loveliness met our view. Greatly to our disappointment, we found the roads rough; often great boulders had to be driven over, and the jolting was very uncomfortable.” –Laura Brewster, 1862
Note how dwarfed the people are standing in the burned out center of the giant trunk. Imagine how amazed and fascinated the emigrants were when they came upon these wonders of nature!
“There is a hollow tree laying on the ground….we rode our horses in, and rode them through, and came out at the roots….our horses and men were all of good size,…” –Henry Sheldon Anable, 1852
“father of the forests which has fallen down is estimated to have been 450′ high – The mother of the forest is 327′ high – 78′ in cir (cumference). The bark is pealed off 116’one tree is cut down that has a ball room on the stump which is 32′ across.” –H. D. Barton, ’65
“…when it did fall it crushed everything in its way and burried one half of itself in the ground. …on the trunk of this tree they are now building a double ten pin alley. and contemplate building a Summer house over the stump….parties often dance upon it. four setts of cottillious can be formed upon it at the same time.” –Henry Sheldon Anable – 1852
The giant Sequoias are now protected within the boundaries of Big Trees State Park.