General Sherman Tree
In the mid 1970's, while still residing in Modesto, the David Katague Family visited Sequoia and the adjacent King's Canyon National Parks. We saw the giant trees including the General Sherman tree- the largest tree on Earth. On our way back we stopped in downtown Fresno to tour the Forestier Underground Gardens. I enjoyed this tour very much since I am an avid gardener. If you have not visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and you live in the Central Valley of California, you are missing some wonders of nature and I suggest put it in your schedule on your next summer vacation.
Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California, in the United States of America. It was established on September 25, 1890. The park spans 404,051 acres (1,635 km2). Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together.
The park is famous for its Giant Sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world, in terms of wood volume. The Giant Forest is connected by the park's Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park's General Grant Grove, home to the General Grant tree among other sequoias. The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres (81,921 ha) of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.
Kings Canyon National Park is a U.S. National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established in 1940 and covers 462,901 acres (187,329 ha). It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of Giant Sequoias. The park is north of and contiguous with the Sequoia National Park
Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno
FORESTIERE patterned his underground world after the ancient catacombs of his native land. The Roman arches dominate the underground landscape while the stonework provides stability and beauty. But unlike the dark catacombs that protected the remnants of the lifeless, Forestiere designed well-lit courtyards and grottos to bring forth the radiance and vitality of life. This network of rooms, grottos, and passageways once honeycombed almost 10 acres, and numbered nearly 100.
FORESTIERE preferred his cool underground lifestyle to that lived by most people of his time—above ground in hot, wooden, “sweat boxes.” His unique home included a parlor with fireplace, a summer and a winter bedroom, a courtyard with a bath and a fish pond, and a kitchen with all the conveniences of his era. This earthen home was
his friend and protector from all types of inclement weather.
Amazing Underground Sights and Wonders
It has been said that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Every twist and turn throughout this delightful underground maze brings a new beauty to behold. The stonework, the scallop-shaped seats carved into the walls and passageways, and the lush greenery of trees/ grapevines growing beneath the ground proclaim Forestiere’s
love for life, nature, and the divine Creator of it all.
ESCAPING the intense Fresno heat is as easy as descending a flight of stairs. Step down into the cool, welcoming arms of nature-shaded rooms and courtyards. Amazingly, the underground climates here (micro-climates) change depending on the location. Temperatures can range anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees from above ground, or just a couple of degrees from one spot to another. This photo shows a citrus tree (once bearing 7 varieties of citrus) growing at a second underground level (about 22 feet down). The different levels also affect the timing of tree blossom appearance and protect them from frost.
Note: This is No.15 ( Part 1) of a series of articles on places that the Katague family had visited or resided in US since 1960.
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