“Drive-through tree” felled by stormIn the 1880s, someone carved out a tunnel …

“Drive-through tree” felled by storm

In the 1880s, someone carved out a tunnel in the middle of a giant sequoia tree in the area that would later be added to part of Calaveras Big Trees state park. Apparently the date it was carved out isn’t well known, but graffiti inside the tree dates back to that era. This tree became a popular site visited by tourists, first for driving through and then in recent years for hiking through after the trail was closed to vehicles. This tree, known as the Pioneer Cabin Tree, stood for a century and a third with this gaping hole in it, but unfortunately the combination of time and the storm mentioned in our last post was too much for it.

On Sunday, a park volunteer found that the tree was knocked down during the rains, possibly due to heavy flooding on the trail going through the tree. Although it was this storm that finally knocked it down, the volunteers also said that the tree wasn’t healthy – it was listing to the side and had only a couple branches left alive before it was felled.

One thing that hasn’t been discussed anywhere is whether or not its poor health was due to the tunnel being cut through it – without knowing more about the life cycle of a giant sequoia I’d call anyone’s statement about that speculation as the tree did live for more than a century like that. A photograph taken before the tunnel was carved shows that this tree did have an open gap on that side that was only widened by the carving – most likely a wildfire scar.

Regardless, here’s our post adding one more goodbye to this popular tree.


Image sources: Jim Allday (felled photos)
Tom Purcell (Standing)
Before carving: