Staggeringly Tall and Mind-Blowingly Old: Some Incredible Examples of Trees

One of the great joys of hiking is spending time with the trees.

In 1997, when 24-year-old Julia “Butterfly” Hill climbed a tree and didn’t come down for two years, many thought she was crazy. Julia resided near the top of the giant redwood she called “Luna” for 728 days, thus saving it – and a three acre protective area around the tree – from destruction. She also brought much needed attention to one of our most valuable resources.

As trees age, they do not rack up the kind of genetic mutations that doom people. Part of a tree can die while other parts continue to grow, allowing trees to live for thousands of years. Trees are also some of the largest organisms on earth. They are one of the most important, valuable and possibly most under-appreciated resources on the planet.

Hidden deep in Redwood National Park stands the 700-year-old Hyperion, the world’s tallest known tree, which stretches 115.5 meters above the forest floor. Coast redwoods like this one are tall, slender trees that grow in the foggy coastal strip of California. These trees are large enough to support small ecosystems of their own, with animals, lichens, plants and even small trees growing in their upper canopy.

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