We traveled from Paso Robles to Coarsegold, California. As days drew nearer we realized that we were not staying quite as close as we really wanted to be so we decided to drive to Visalia, board Jackson, spend a couple of nights in a hotel, bundle up and take a shuttle to and from Sequoia National Park. It proved to be a very good decision, as we were pretty tired and having to drive back to Coarsegold would have been simply exhausting, as the winding roads are very narrow in this neck of the woods.
Sequoia National Park is California’s first National Park and home to Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states with an elevation of 14,505′. It also is home to these incredibly large, cinnamon colored trees which also share the name of the park.
The giant sequoias grow only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada and pictures do not properly capture their tremendous size and height. The largest tree in the world by volume is the General Sherman Tree and when standing by its trunk, we felt so small and insignificant. This gigantic conifer stands at 275′ and is over 36′ in diameter at the base. Waking around the Giant Forest sequoia grove inspired a feeling of calm and peace. It felt like everything just slowed down.
We were so fortunate as it had just snowed about 5″ a few days prior to our arrival and while at the park, it was only a bit cool, but with warm jackets, all was good. John found some snow and, of course, he could not resist the boy inside him.
Sequoias are so large that tunnels could be cut into them and automobiles are able to drive through them.
Moro Rock is a large granite dome also in the Giant Forest area of the park. We took the .25 mile hike by climbing 440 steps to the top of the rock. The view from the top was spectacular and in spite of not having clear skies, we still were able to see the beautiful canyons below.
Tharpe’s Log was the summer cabin built from a fallen, fire-hallowed sequoia log back in the 1860’s by Hale Tharp, the first non-American Indian settler in the area. It is the oldest pioneer cabin in the park.
The last remaining remnants of snow at the edge of the meadow in the Sequoia.
Before we left the park, I was curious and asked one of the park rangers if, hypothetically, one of the named trees were placed elsewhere, would she be able to identify it. She laughed and said, well they all have specific characteristics, but agreed that it would be difficult.
The views of the snow capped mountain during our drive back to Visalia were also beautiful.
The following day we picked Jackson up from the kennel and continued our adventure into Kings Canyon. We were actually very surprised as it was not at all what we had anticipated it to be. This park was also interconnected with a national forest, so part of the road was in the forest and the other was in the National Park. We knew we would be driving a windy and narrow road with pine trees, some redwoods and perhaps a few sequoias. However, we were surprised by the beauty of the canyon.
Kings Canyon has its own sequoia grove called Giant Grove and amongst them is Sentinel Tree and the properly named General Grant Tree.
Since the fire staff was conducting a prescribed burn during the period we visited, we saw some smoke and smoldering logs. But all in all, we had a fabulous time. We can’t wait for our upcoming adventure, so stay tuned!