Encounter - The Giant Sequoia stands tall, er... large

Though not the tallest tree in the world, the Giant Sequoia is certainly the largest. Now, that has a lot of people confused. Tallest, largest... what's the diff? The Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) wins over the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in terms of total volume - a factor of height and weight. Coast Redwoods are taller and win in terms of elevation but they are narrower and lighter than the Sequoias. In 2001, at the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, I was introduced to these big-hipped grand dames of Kingdom Plantae. They are colossal - one can drive a small car through a tree's trunk at ground level. If the tree allows you to, that is. There are a trees in this grove that have been around for centuries. Along with trees in other parts of the Sierra Nevada, they are some of the last Giant Sequoias left on the planet. You have to bend over backwards and crane your neck to the sky to get a decent picture. I watched a few Japanese tourists actually accomplish that feat. They kneeled, arched back and clicked. Ah-sos all around. These pictures were taken by me and since I'm not Japanese, I wasn't able to catch the entire tree in one frame.