We have drive-thru fast-food outlets, drive-thru banks, drive-thru wedding chapels in Las Vegas, but no longer do we have the drive-thru giant sequoia. The 2000 year-old Pioneer Cabin Tree in California’s Calaveras Big Trees State Park came tumbling down during a massive storm over the weekend.
This majestic monster was much-loved by thousands of people who would return to see it over the years and decades. In the 1880s someone had the brilliant idea to carve out a tunnel in the huge tree to allow visitors to pass through it. Until several decades ago you could even drive a car through it. Now it appears that carving was responsible for weakening the tree and causing it to come down.
I don’t want to go out on a limb here, but one thing we will never know is if it made a sound; if a giant, altered sequoia falls in the forest and there is no one there because of the bad storm, did it make a sound? That’s always stumped me.
I have learned that my last name, Stubbs, comes either from our short stocky build, or from ‘Stumps’. I’m going with the latter; evidently my forebears made their living by removing stumps left when trees were felled. I suspect this would have been the mother-lode for my relatives. The base of the tree had a diameter of almost 75 feet. Today the going rate for stump grinding is $3 per inch of diameter. So 75 feet is 900 inches bringing the cost to $2700. Not exactly a fortune, but a chance to make history.