Protected in a public park on John's Island in South Carolina, the Angel Oak tree is definitely a most impressive living site to visit. One may experience an unexplainable, surreal feeling of calmness and peace as they walk under the huge 17,000 square foot shaded canopy while gazing in amazement. It truly feels like a connection to the past, reaching out into the big sky above. One question people seem to always ask when we talk about visiting this wonder is, how old is it? With an estimated age close to 1,400 years old, the ancient Angel Oak tree certainly lives up to its age in person. The old oak was named after Martha and Justus Angel, though some may believe the name is from its angel protectors. It has witnessed a lot of history on John's Island, survived a booming logging industry, and even stood up to a hurricane.
The trunk alone measures a mesmerizing twenty five and a half feet, or 306 inches, and some of the limbs are so large that they've begun to grow upward like new trees, after crawling across the ground for some distance. Damage over the years from storms has resulted unfortunately, with many of the branches requiring reinforcing with wiring and supports for preservation. Although the artificial support does detract a little from the awe and wonder of the tree, it also brings attention to the fragility of an ancient oak when faced with some of the most powerful forces of nature.
Hopefully the Angel Oak tree will continue to stand tall and strong against the test of time for many others to experience in person. Like other ancient trees living for centuries, it’s amazing to think about how many significant events they have lived through. When the ancient oak was only a sapling, the world’s population was around 208 million, Teotihuacan was plundered, and the first Anglo-Saxon poetry possibly able to capture the tree’s beauty in writing was published. World civilization has changed extensively since then, along with the environment, but the Angel Oak tree remains standing.
During our visit, we took our time wandering around, following the long branches, all while relaxing in the beautiful shade and trying to wrap our heads around the size of the tree. To help show just how big this tree really is, here are some photos from the experience for you to enjoy.
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