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That Giant Tree You Could Drive Through Is Dead

The iconic redwood tree with a tunnel through its trunk toppled during a particularly strong winter storm Sunday afternoon in California.

The storm blew for several hours, flooding the trail, and the tree that lived for more than a century with a hole in its trunk fell over, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The Calaveras Big Trees State Park first announced the tree had toppled in a Facebook post Sunday evening.

 

“When I went out there [Sunday afternoon], the trail was literally a river, the trail is washed out,” park volunteer Jim Allday told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I could see the tree on the ground, it looked like it was laying in a pond or lake with a river running through it.”

Hours of rain probably loosened the tree’s root system, which couldn’t secure the tree in the storm’s high wind. The giant sequoia’s roots are only about four feet deep, the Associate Press reported.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree, named for a tiny structure built near the tree’s roots, was hollowed into a tunnel during the 1880s as a tourist attraction. Since then, visiting hikers and even cars were able to pass underneath the still-living tree.

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