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The Great Oak Hike Challenge

Updated on February 3, 2015

The oak is 97 feet high, with a 499-inch – or nearly 42-foot – trunk circumference and a crown 98 feet wide. The roots of the behemoth run deep into the side of the ravine where a natural spring flows into a creek below."

— Paul Melzer

The Adventure Begins

7 Naturalists and a photographer set out to find and measure this goliath oak tree
7 Naturalists and a photographer set out to find and measure this goliath oak tree
With rocks, waterfalls and rough terrain ahead the adventure begins with this mountainous region of  the San Bernardino Mountains of California.
With rocks, waterfalls and rough terrain ahead the adventure begins with this mountainous region of the San Bernardino Mountains of California.
The route to the oak
The route to the oak
takes over three hours over a course of
takes over three hours over a course of
climbing up a canyon
climbing up a canyon
over hard rocks
over hard rocks
over a waterfall
over a waterfall

The land once pathed by native leading from oak to oak following the creeks side I could feel the presence of those who alwaked before us.

Whats your idea of a good hike?

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Finding the Behemoth

Take a hike over a ridge into a canyon
Take a hike over a ridge into a canyon
down into a creek canyon and up a flowing creek bed
down into a creek canyon and up a flowing creek bed
for a 1,200-foot elevation gain
for a 1,200-foot elevation gain

It’s almost mythological... in dimension."

— David Myers

The Champion Oak

Believed to be at least 1,000 to 1,500 years old, the oak’s measurements give it 621 points in the American Forests National Big Tree Program.
Believed to be at least 1,000 to 1,500 years old, the oak’s measurements give it 621 points in the American Forests National Big Tree Program.

off of the beaten path is a big champion oak tree that would otherwise receive little attention

"It’s almost mythological... in dimension."
"It’s almost mythological... in dimension."
The loose hillsides are marked with oak-conifer woodlands
The loose hillsides are marked with oak-conifer woodlands
mountain meadows and chaparral hillsides
mountain meadows and chaparral hillsides

It may actually be the largest oak in the world."

— Paul Melzer
Fresh water springs feeding the canyons, ravines and waterfalls with fresh drinking water
Fresh water springs feeding the canyons, ravines and waterfalls with fresh drinking water
In the land where robust coast redwoods and giant sequoias tower over the earth
In the land where robust coast redwoods and giant sequoias tower over the earth
another kind of big tree makes an appearance
another kind of big tree makes an appearance
The Champion Live Oak Tree--also the largest of all oaks
The Champion Live Oak Tree--also the largest of all oaks
 this particular canyon live oak, located in Glen Oak, Calif.
this particular canyon live oak, located in Glen Oak, Calif.
the largest of any discovered oak species in the U.S
the largest of any discovered oak species in the U.S
Nominating a tree with record-breaking potential requires three measurements
Nominating a tree with record-breaking potential requires three measurements
 trunk circumference in inches; height in feet and average crown spread in feet.
trunk circumference in inches; height in feet and average crown spread in feet.
total height in feet
total height in feet
and average crown spread in feet.
and average crown spread in feet.
Total points for a contender are determined through this calculation
Total points for a contender are determined through this calculation
circumference plus height plus 1/4 the average crown spread.
circumference plus height plus 1/4 the average crown spread.

Hell of a tree."

— whispered Geena Burgess

After a hellish hike in the wilderness seven naturalists with cameras, tape measures and lasers pointed at The Champion Oak tree. As they looked up at its gnarled branches, their eyes alive with anticipation to discover its hidden secrets.

Nominating a tree with record-breaking potential requires three measurements: trunk circumference in inches; height in feet and average crown spread in feet. Total points for a contender are determined through this calculation: circumference plus height plus 1/4 the average crown spread.

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