Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Spencer Jack's Virtual Drive Through California's Fallen Pioneer Cabin Tree

Spencer Jack Simulation of Driving Through the
Pioneer Cabin Tree
Last night Spencer Jack's dad text messaged me asking if I had ever been to the Pioneer Cabin Tree.

I assumed my Favorite Nephew Jason was asking about that drive through sequoia which came crashing down during the recent California rainstorm.

I replied saying I assumed it was the fallen sequoia he was asking about, and further saying that I did not recollect driving through the tree, but I do recollect driving by it.

I added that if I remember correctly the drive through tree was near what is now Redwoods National Park and also near the Trees of Mystery.

Mentioning to Jason the Trees of Mystery got me wondering if that long time Northern California tourist attraction still existed, with its giant Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox.

Traveling Highway 101, back in the last century, stopping at Trees of Mystery seemed sort of mandatory, what with all the Trees of Mystery bumper stickers one constantly saw, the sort of thing which caused kids in a car, well, me and my siblings, to beg to stop.

I Googled to quickly find myself pleased to learn that the Trees of Mystery not only still exists, this roadside attraction has greatly expanded since my last visit.

Since my last visit to Trees of Mystery a Sky Trail has been added, which is a Gondola  ride high above the ground, communing with Sequoia tree tops. Motel Trees have been added. A Forest Cafe. A museum. And other things I did not remember seeing previously.

Well, actually, it has been so long since I was last mystified by the Trees of  Mystery the only elements of that tourist attraction which I remember are the aforementioned Mr. Bunyan and his Ox, and a souvenir store.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree was old, real old,  maybe as old as a thousand years. If I remember right, when last I saw what became known as the Pioneer Cabin Tree, it was known as the Tunnel Tree, and was situated in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. I vaguely recollect exploring trails in Calaveras Big Trees State  Park prior to Redwoods National  Park coming into existence.

Travelers began being able to travel through the Tunnel Tree after it was hollowed out in the 1880s. At that point in time it would have been travelers on horses or riding in a horse powered buggy which traveled through the Tunnel Tree.

Eventually automobiles were allowed to transit through the Tunnel Tree. I do not recollect doing so.

At some point in time, late in the previous century, or early in  the current century, vehicular traffic through the Pioneer Cabin Tunnel Tree was banned, with a hiking trail becoming the way to transit through the tree tunnel.

So, I suspect some sort of digital manipulation has been used, above, by Spencer Jack and his dad to create the illusion that Spencer Jack is about to drive through California's former iconic giant sequoia tree...

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