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Boole Tree

Sequoia National Forest

August 27th, 2005

2.5 miles
615 vertical feet
Total Time: 2:42

Rating: 6/10

Directions: From Grant Grove, drive toward Cedar Grove. After about 4 miles, turn left onto Forest Service Road 13S55, signed for Boole Tree, Converse Basin, and Stump Meadow. Drive about 2.5 miles on the gentle dirt road to the big parking lot.   View Driving Map

About a half mile from the parking lot, on the drive in, you'll pass through Stump Meadow, which has dozens of old sequoia stumps -- remnants of sequoias cut down by loggers in the early 1900's. It's a ghostly image. When you reach the Boole Tree, you'll wonder how anyone could have done this.

The Boole Tree can be done as a 2-mile out-and-back, but we opted for the 2.5 mile loop. We started off on the right fork, since the book I had said it would be a more gradual climb. In fact, it is completely the opposite. If you want a gradual climb, start on the left fork.

View looking up from the trail

In any case, we took the right fork and climbed steadily, gaining about 500 feet in one mile. Along the way, we saw every single hiker who'd come in the 5 other cars in the parking lot. Apparently they were all one big group, about 20 or so strong, all coming down as we were coming up. After that, though, we had the whole place to ourselves the rest of the hike.

The trail is mostly shaded, and gets steeper near the top. Here, there are wooden steps built into the trail to help. The trail actually crests and then descends briefly before there's a spur trail to the right to the Boole Tree. The spur trail descends some more. When you first glimpse the Boole Tree through all the other trees, you'll see a display sign which explains how the loggers cut everything else down except this tree.

Looking up a the Boole Tree

Lunch at the Boole Tree

Shortly, you'll be standing right next to the Boole Tree itself, which is massive. It's about 269 feet tall and 35 feet wide at the base, and probably over 2000 years old. There's a small perimeter of bare ground around it, which is then surrounded by brush and much younger and smaller conifers. It has a very closed-in feel, in contrast to places like the Congress Trail or General Grant Trail.

Base of the Boole Tree

Base of the Boole Tree

We settled down on the ground next to the tree for lunch. After a nice quiet lunch (just us and the birds) and admiring the tree, we retraced our steps back up to the main trail, then turned right to complete the loop. The trail climbs again, and almost immediately presents some partially obscured views of Kings Canyon. From this vantage point, you can also see the Boole Tree poking out above the rest of the forest. Its top (which you can't see from the base) is almost a perfect upside-down cone.

Boole Tree poking out above the other trees

Top of the Boole Tree

While the trail up to the Boole Tree was mostly shaded, this part of the trail is mostly open. The trail levels out for stretch. Just after passing through a gate, you'll have great unobstructed views of Kings Canyon. The cool breeze is a treat, too. The view persists while you go down a series of gentle switchbacks.

The mountains of Kings Canyon

As I reached to open a second gate, I suddenly yelped out in pain. I got stung by a wasp or something. As my finger throbbed in pain, Jean applied the Sting-Eze that I carry in my first aid kit. The wasps or whatever they were still circled as we went through the gate. But they didn't bother us after that. Down we went, and less than 5 minutes later, we were back at the now-empty parking lot.

On the drive back, I stopped and took a few pictures of Stump Meadow.

Stump Meadow

Motorcyclist leaving Stump Meadow

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