Nature’s best kept secrets are tucked away in the spaces mostly untouched by human interference. That is why, up until 2006, no one knew of the world’s tallest tree, nicknamed “Hyperion”. Located somewhere in California’s Redwood National Park, Hyperion stands 379 feet tall – 10 feet taller than the former record holder, the Stratosphere Giant. But if you are hoping to get an up-close glance of Hyperion, you’re out of luck.
Two naturalists, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, were trekking through the forest when they stumbled upon three trees that took their breaths away. Using professional laser equipment, they measured all three trees as taller than the record. In September, 2006, Steve Sillett arrived to measure the tallest, Hyperion, the old fashioned way and filmed the “second to none” experience for National Geographic.
Over the course of a few hours, Sillett and his team were able to confirm the giant measures at 379 feet. Hyperion is estimated to be about 600 years old, which is relatively young in sequoia years. The tree would be the equivalent of about 20 years old in human years and still has quite a bit of growing to do. The location of the giant is purposefully not disclosed, to prevent looky-loos from trying to climb or carve their initials into it.
Most stunning about this discovery is that it may not have happened, due to a close-call logging operation. Back in the 1970s, clearcutting – a forestry practice which eliminates trees in an area – was stopped just a few hundred feet from the behemoth when the area was declared a national park. Now, Hyperion and its lush, green cousins can live out the rest of their lives in peace.