California’s Pioneer Cabin Tree aka “Tunnel Tree” has fallen.

Pioneer Cabin Tree - Image Source: By NX1Z via Wikimedia Commons

The Pioneer Cabin Tree also known as the “Tunnel Tree” to many, was a giant ancient sequoia with a hollowed-out tunnel through it’s base that resided in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California. This tree was hollowed-out to help increase tourism to the park during the 1880’s. Ultimately it drew thousands of visitors each year in California. This impressive and historic tree sadly toppled over on Sunday, January 8, 2017 during a period of heavy rains. 

Cars were once allowed to drive through the Tunnel Tree for a period of time. But in recent decades the tunnel was only accessible to hikers on a 1.5-mile loop in the park. 

The Pioneer Cabin tree was one of several “tunnel trees” that had been carved out and served as human amusements. The Wawona tree, in the Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park, was cut open in 1881. It fell down during a winter storm in 1969 and has been known as the Fallen Tunnel Tree since then. It was more than 2,000 years old when it fell.

Wawona Tree in 1982. Image Source: By Editor ASC Robert J. Boser via Wikimedia Commons

The Chandelier tree lives in a private Redwood grove in Leggett, CA which is north of San Francisco. The public is allowed to drive through the tree’s carved-out opening for a fee.

Chandelier Tree in Leggett, CA. Image Source: By Jled12 via Wikimedia Commons

Sequoias are known as the largest tree species in the world. They can reach diameters up to 27 feet and have shallow root systems that make them vulnerable to toppling. The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old. The giant sequoia is usually found in a humid climate characterized by dry summers and snowy winters. And they typically grow best in an elevation of 4,600–6,600 ft.

For more information regarding the Pioneer Cabin Tree’s toppling please visit this link

Here We Grow Again! HTHT is Pleased to Announce Another Franchise Addition!

High Touch High Tech is happy to announce a new addition to our ever-growing, global science family. The new HTHT franchise location will soon be opening its doors in Santa Clara County and the South Bay, CA. The franchise owner is Shalini Wadwani. Franchise training was completed the week of July 14th at the World Headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. Shalini is very excited about this new venture and is currently launching her new operation. As Shalini gets up and running, we appreciate any support, best practices and recommendations you can share to assist in building the High Touch High Tech brand in Santa Clara County, CA.

Please join us in welcoming our newest addition, High Touch High Tech of Santa Clara County and the South Bay, to the HTHT Family!

As you can see in the picture above, Shalini had a blast learning the bag stab technique from the afterschool program Water Works!

Four million kids annually participate in High Touch High Tech programs. Every day, every hour, somewhere in the world, there is a High Touch High Tech program currently happening.  As the leader in innovative, hands-on science & nature experiences, we have created a community of young learners keen on rolling up their sleeves, fueling their imagination, sparking their curiosity, and doing REAL science.

To learn more about High Touch High Tech of Santa Clara County & the South Bay area

visit us online at

We are thrilled to be expanding into Santa Clara County and the South Bay Area & are looking forward to bringing our signature hands-on science experiences to children.  From the corners of Western North Carolina to the California coastline, the new HTHT of Santa Clara County and South Bay joins our outstanding family of existing franchises across the globe!

Shalini, welcome to the High Touch High Tech Family!

Visit us online at

Happy Birthday Amelia Earhart!

Amelia Earhart is honored by Google with a birthday Doodle.

One of the world’s most famous pilots, Amelia Earhart was one of the first female pilots who sought to break endurance records and prove women pilots were just as tough and capable as the men. In 1937 she took off from Papua New Guinea in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe by following the equator.  She disappeared then, and her body was never recovered. However, she was still an important figure in aviation, perhaps more so than any living pilot might have been. And now, Amelia Earhart has found herself on a Google Doodle.

Earhart was born July 24, 1897, in Kansas, but didn’t take her first flight until 1920 in Long Beach, California. Earhart was instantly smitten with flight and dedicated herself to her new career; within two years, she was breaking aviation records and by 1927, she flew across the Atlantic.

The Google Doodle shows Earhart climbing into a Lockheed Vega 5b, the plane that made her famous. She joins artistsauthorsmusicians, and scientists in the pantheon of people who have gotten their own Google tributes.

Scientists Break 18th Century Secret Code


A trans-Atlantic team cracked the Copiale Cipher.

Originally written in the 18th Century, the Copiale Cipher was a secret document detailing the rites, rituals, and fascinations of an obscure German cult.  Long hidden away behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, the document was unknown to the west for many years.  Even after it was discovered by Western researchers, the code of the Copiale Cypher remained uncracked.  Finally, a team has translated the Copiale Cipher, cracking the code that remained a mystery for hundreds of years and stumped dozens of scientists.

“I defeated their security!” cheered USC computer researcher Kevin Knight, who worked alongside Beata Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University in Sweden.  ”For me, the fun is in cracking the code.  It has passed through a lot of hands, but you persevered and could read what other people couldn’t.  You start to see patterns, then you reach the magic point where a word appears.”  He added that, after that key moment, “you no longer even care what the document’s about.”

As it turns out, the group was obsessed with eye surgery and ophthalmology, among other things.  Now with that message solved, will the team turn their attention to the secret code on the seal of the United States Cyber Command?  If you can break the Copiale Cipher, you can break any code!

San Francisco Rocked By Earthquakes 22 Years After Loma Prieta


In 1989, the city of San Francisco was rocked by the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the World Series (which was going on at the time), killed 63 people, and caused $10 billion dollars in damage.  Exactly 22 years later, San Francisco has experienced not one, but two earthquakes on the anniversary of Loma Prieta.  At 8:16 PM, San Francisco was hit by a 3.9 earthquake; six hours earlier, the city was hit by a 4.0 earthquake.

Of course, San Francisco is no stranger to earthquakes.  Every weird animal behavior is believed to be an earthquake warning.  San Francisco shakes pretty often; after all,it’s not New York.  San Franciscans know their quakes, and they remember Loma Prieta.  I have no doubt that the shaking earth on the anniversary of one of the most devastating earthquakes in the history of the city had more than a few people worried about what might happen.

These don’t seem like aftershocks, or just small self-contained quakes to me.  I’m no geologist, but if I was in San Francisco, I’d update my earthquake preparedness kit, because there might be a big one coming soon.  That may not be true, but it’s definitely how I’d be feeling if I was in the city by the bay.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Given to LA Museum


When the Space Shuttle Endeavour was retired in May, nobody knew where it would end up. Would NASA sell it to SpaceX to help with commercial space flight? Would they keep it around but in mothballs in case they needed it for something? As it turns out, NASA must need a multi-billion-dollar tax write-off, because the various Space Shuttle pieces are being donated to charities. For example, Endeavour is being donated to the California Science Center, where its new mission will soon begin.

“NASA is pleased to share this wonderful orbiter with the California Science Center to help inspire a new generation of explorers,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. ”The next chapter in space exploration begins now, and we’re standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the shuttle program to reach farther into the solar system.”

Joining the CSC as the final resting place of the various space shuttles are NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Udvar-Hazy Center, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum. Endeavour has traveled 115 million miles over 25 missions and has carried 139 people into space. Now, it makes one last trip to Exposition Park through the streets of Los Angeles before it finds a new mission: teaching kids about science