Woah, this is one very tall tree. Nine years ago, it was the tallest known plant in the world. (See if you can spot the three people, blue shirted, hanging at different points on the trunk).
Credit: Photo by James Balog
It’s 369 feet high. That’s about twice the size of the Statue of Liberty (minus the foundation). I like this tree. The people who discovered it have never revealed its true location, which is somewhere in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. And though it’s got a nickname, “Stratosphere Giant,” it is no longer the giant. It’s been trumped.
After its short four-year reign as World’s Tallest, two hikers, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, were deep in another section of another park, Redwood National Park (purchased in 1978 during the Carter administration) when they came across a new stand of trees, taller than anyone had ever seen before. The tallest of the tall is 379 feet 4 inches, 10 feet taller than the Giant. It’s now called “Hyperion.”
We have the precise measurements because after Chris and Michael announced their discovery, a team of scientists, led by Humboldt State University ecologist Steve Sillett, climbed to the top of the tree and dropped a tape down to the ground. Some things are still that simple. Steve’s colleague, Jim Spickler (check out his biceps! scary), repeated the climb and brought a camera, so we can go with him. This video, which comes with dramatic music in all the right places, is, to use a much overused word, but I’ll use it anyway…”awesome”: