The Bishop Giants

Fifteen years ago, I cycled up the Seymour Valley’s East Side Road on an impeccable spring day. Β The intention was to find the approach trail that led up to Vicar Lakes and Mt Bishop, which I accomplished, but what I discovered was something else again.

Just minutes after wondering whether I ought to just head home after spotting what I thought was the tail end of a very big cat near the trailhead, I gathered myself and continued up the forest path toward Mt Bishop. I was glad I did!

The patriarch of the Bishop Trail Grove, which may be almost 1000 years old

At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but upon further examination, they were not. There in in an auspicious clearing in the forest was the monstrous trunk of a venerable Western Red Cedar. Due to the second growth trees that surrounded it, at first it was difficult to tell whether or not I was looking at a live tree or not, or even if it was a stump. I began to circle this giant, trying to get a look at its canopy high above the forest floor. Sure enough, it was alive, and it was immediately apparent just how ancient it really was, perhaps a thousand years old. What’s more, a somewhat smaller tree of similar old age sat quietly beside it in the shadows. This was a revelation!

Doug and the two giants of the Bishop Grove from several years later in April 2006
700 year old cedar in the Bishop Grove

It isn’t every day that you find two trees, each over seven centuries old! A decade and a half later, they are both still thriving well, and perhaps receive just a few dozen visitors every year. It’s hard to imagine that once trees like these were a common sight in the Seymour Valley, but heartening to know that their status is now well protected. See them while you can!



2 thoughts on “The Bishop Giants”

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading about your big-tree hunting adventures–similar to what my twin brother (Darryl) and I have experienced around the west coast over our 76-year lives. Yep, bushwhacking in SW B.C.’s forests definitely is the ultimate of challenges! Have you been into the “Mossome Grove” near Port Renfrew? Wwe have not and didn’t realize it existed when we stayed in a rental cabin near there in 2016. Cheers, Darvel Lloyd Portland, Oregon


    1. Hi Darvel, I certainly follow your exploits too! Sounds as though we get up to some pretty similar things. I haven’t been in to Mossome yet, and I don’t have directions to find it.
      I don’t yet know exactly where it is other than it’s on the San Juan River but would love to
      see it. If I do get any info I’ll let you know for sure


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