The Temple Giant

There are times, I am reminded, that a simple gesture of kindness leads to a great deal of happiness. Eighteen years ago I was given some scans of an out of print map published by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) by my good friend Vida. That, for me, sparked a quest to rediscover the remaining old growth trees of British Columbia’s Seymour Valley. It has been a remarkable journey, and during those years not only was I able to locate those giants, but I also was able to discover many other hidden treasures!

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An excerpt from the WCWC map, now out of print. For today’s purposes, the newer Seymour Valley Trailway runs parallel and uphill to the original Seymour Mainline road which is now off limits to the public

The Temple Grove of Giants was really the first part of the map that captured my imagination, with its high concentration of ancient Douglas firs and Western red cedars.  A visit to the Temple Giant naturally seemed like the perfect place to start!

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Matt meets the Temple Fir back in 2006. Hard for me to believe this was so long ago!

The Seymour Valley, of course, was once home to one of the most spectacular forests in all of Southwestern British Columbia , when trees like the Temple Giant were commonplace. In order to gain more perspective, I humbly suggest reading Tolkien, the Story of a Tree, which is a more comprehensive account of the Temple Grove of Giants.

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Rich approaches the Temple Giant in 2008

Many generations have passed since the Temple Giant took root in the forests of Hydraulic Creek. Since that happened long before the time of colonization in North America, its life remained relatively unthreatened during those years. Unfortunately, the turn of the twentieth century was to bring about considerable change, and saw the logging of most of the lower Seymour Valley. So what might have saved the tree from the chopping block? Some say that a human caused fire in 1936 broke out while fallers were working in Hydraulic Creek, shutting down one particular logging camp . Another factor may have been the Great Depression, when timber prices plummeted, so perhaps that kept the Temple Giant from destruction. Years later, in the 1990s, there were plans to begin harvesting again. A successful campaign by the WCWC was then launched, leading to the prohibition of  logging in Greater Vancouver’s watersheds.

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The Temple Giant is among the largest Douglas firs in the province of British Columbia

The Temple Giant is without a doubt one of the most impressive Douglas Firs I have seen, ranking fifth in size in the province of British Columbia. Its diameter is just over ten feet (3.05 metres) at breast height and it pierces the skies at a height of over 280 feet (85.3 metres)! I believe it may  be older than 700 years, but its age is unconfirmed. There are many other trees in the Temple Grove of Giants that are at least five centuries old, I would estimate. I encourage you to visit this incredible Douglas fir while it still stands, and once you do, I’m certain you’ll return time after time, just as I have!

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The Temple Giant is a sight to behold. It’s a real time saver if you ride your bike to the trailhead!

6 thoughts on “The Temple Giant”

  1. Nice, this will certainly leave room for adventure for those who go seek to discover it! I hope this particular tree never gets too much visitation for it looks a bit sensitive to it.

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    1. It might be if it ever got a lot of visits but the necessary bike ride more or less keeps the traffic quite low. It’s a very different scenario than before, so much less shade!

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      1. We are here now. Seems the road is closed now so biking might be the only option. It’s a 5 k hike otherwise. And my guy has sore feet. Poor planning on our part. We will be back with our bikes.

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      2. Hi Lori, here is some more info:
        Hobbit Cedar 10 U 0499920 UTM 5471423, elevation 337m Hidden Giant 10 U 0499755 UTM 5471446, elevation 395m Paul George. 10 U 0499710 UTM 5471413, elevation 415m Rosebush Giant 10 U 049967 UTM 5471317, elevation 427m Chittenden Giant 10 U 0499705 UTM 5471240, elevation 396m Hundal Giant 10 U 0499683 UTM 5471228, elevation 389m Temple Giant 10 U 0499694 UTM 5471143, elevation 377m Hydraulic Creek Trail begins north side of Hydraulic Bridge, may not be marked but the footbed is obvious These waypoints start from the junction with Hydraulic Creek Trail, about a ten minute walk, maybe more with bikes, from the road. Stash bikes somewhere around there…From the junction, cross the creek and find Hobbit, then bear uphill to find the Hidden Giant. From there it’s uphill to Paul George, then a rough and descending traverse that will bring you to Rosebush. Take care not to go too low or high to cross the dry creek bed at Krisby. Next you continue that line over to the other trees and the Temple Giant. Downhill from Temple you reach the road in maybe 10-15 minutes and walk back to Hydraulic Bridge and the trailhead

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