Happy birthday California (163 years old today!). Here are some amazing California facts from Uncle John’s Plunges into California.
16 CALIFORNIA EXTREMES
How much do you know about California’s highest, lowest, oldest, largest, and smallest stuff?
TALLEST LIVING THING: Hyperion, a 379-foot Sequoia (California redwood) tree located in the Redwood National Park near Eureka. Hyperion’s location in the park is kept secret to prevent it from being damaged by tourists.
SMALLEST MOUNTAIN RANGE: The Sutter Butte Mountain Range near Yuba City. The buttes are a circular volcanic outcropping just 10 miles in diameter.
OLDEST LIVING TREE IN NORTH AMERICA: A 4,842- year-old bristlecone pine in Inyo National Forest outside Bishop.
Named Methuselah (after the oldest person whose age is referenced in the Bible), this pine was a seedling during the Bronze Age, when the Pyramids were going up in Egypt.
LARGEST LIVING TREE: General Sherman, a giant sequoia in Sequoia National Park, east of Visalia. Named for Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, this tree weighs more than 2 million pounds, is 275 feet tall, and is the largest tree on earth when measured by its estimated volume of 52,513 cubic feet.
BIGGEST SOLITARY BOULDER: Giant Rock in Landers in the Mojave Desert. At about seven stories high, it weighs more than 23,000 tons.
LONGEST RUNWAY: At Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert. It’s 7.5 miles long, and the first space shuttle landed there.
WORLD’S TALLEST ONE-PIECE TOTEM POLE: Built in 1962, the brightly painted 160-foot-tall pole in the McKinleyville Shopping Center was designed by Ernest Pierson, who carved it from a single 500-year-old redwood.
OLDEST CONCRETE BRIDGE STILL IN USE: Fernbridge in Humboldt County. Built in 1911 of reinforced concrete, it crosses the Eel River and is 1,450 feet long.
HIGHEST LANDING PAD ON A BUILDING: The U.S. Bank Tower in downtown L.A. is 1,018 feet high, making it the world’s tallest building with a helipad on the roof. It’s also America’s tallest building west of Chicago.
NORTH AMERICA’S BEST VIEW OF THE WORLD: The 3,849-foot summit of Mt. Diablo in Contra Costa County. It reveals more of the earth’s surface than any other peak in the world, except Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Mt. Diablo looks west to the Farallon Islands in the Pacific, east to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, south to the Santa Cruz Mountains, and north to the Cascades.
NORTH AMERICA’S HIGHEST CONCENTRATION OF LAVA TUBE CAVES: Lava Beds National Monument near Tulelake.