Exotic Big Trees: The Sequoias of Gorge Road
The Robin Hood Motel on Gorge Road in Victoria - reasonably priced, free WiFi, and a massive Giant sequoia in the parking lot. I have had my eyes on Giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) since May of this year when I posted here about sequoias in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park.
Since then the sequoia post has been the most viewed on VIBT. I happened to be driving Gorge Road the other day on my way back to Sooke after a day in the city, and thought I would get pics of more of these beautiful exotic big trees.
Driving west on the Gorge you can see the sequoias before you drive by them - they are the tallest trees in the hood, and stick up over everything else, condos included. Also, the conical shape in their perfect form is hard to miss. It is classic conifer for this most ancient of trees - fossils of Dawn redwood, a relative of sequoias, are from trees that lived 250 million years ago.
The first big sequoia we stopped at was at the Robin Hood Motel at Gorge Road and Carroll Street. This tree dominates the entire lot. Most likely it came north from California as a sapling riding along with an American pioneer around 1900. Many of Victoria's Giant sequoias are over one hundred years old now, and have grown to vast heights and widths.
The tallest tree in Victoria may be one of the imported sequoias. Still, all of them are mere infants compared to their relatives growing on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range in central California. These trees don't reach maximum cone/seed production until they are 150 - 200 years old, and can live up to 3500 years.
The next sequoias are at a residential address at Gorge Road and Gorge View Drive. There are twin sequoia at this address that make the surrounding cars and houses look like miniatures.
The wide trunks of these trees have a distinctly red coloured bark that looks similar to our native Western red-cedar. Large twisted red limbs can be seen throughout the large canopy of the trees. The frilly foliage droops almost to the ground.
Sequoias can grow to 300 ft tall and 32 ft wide at the base. As big and beautiful as Victoria's sequoias are, they have a long way to go. Forward thinking people have seen them through the past 100 years. I wonder how many more hundreds of years they can survive in a rapidly changing city.
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The Gorge waterway would make an excellent paddle in a kayak or canoe, and would be a nice way to see the big sequoias as well as the numerous large native trees in the area. There are many parks along the waterway and a person could stroll or bike along winding trails while enjoying the view. Or if you are returning home drive along Gorge Road and enjoy the beauty.
(On the map above you can switch to satellite view, zoom in, and see the trees I am referring to. These giants cast long shadows. Check them out.)