Sequoia National Park–So Big, So Tall

The entire idea of this massive road trip was started by an article about Sequoia National Park that Stacy found in National Geographic so making it our first stop felt right. Getting up early for the drive to the park wasn’t even all that difficult when you had gigantic, ancient trees waiting for you!

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We had the cameras charged, the windows opened and our peepers peeled for bear sightings before we even got into the park. Stacy had researched her little heart out so she knew exactly what where we needed to go which was great! We did stop by the Visitors Center to check on trail conditions and general park news, but aside for an unwanted but required shuttle ride we had come adequately prepared!

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…waiting for the shuttle & at the top of Moro Rock…

Our first stop of the day was the Tunnel Log and Moro Rock. Unfortunately we were visiting on a Saturday so the actual road was closed, instead we had to take a bus. I think Chris’s photo does a great job of summing up how excited we were to be shuttled around. It turned out fine and the shuttle drivers were fantastic but a drive up on a week day would have been better!

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The Tunnel Log is a tree that fell across the road and was carved out to allow cars to pass through. If it were a weekday when the general public is allowed to drive up to Crescent Meadow we would have been able to drive our car through the Tunnel Log and felt very cool. Alias, we had to settle for climbing on it and acting like fools!

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Once we got back to our car we headed further into the park to see General Sherman and hike through the Giant Forest. As we expected the area around General Sherman was filled with people. We decided to hike first in hopes people would clear out as the day went on. The trail we took {whose name I cannot remember not find the less than stellar online map} had us walking for about 2 miles. It was even, paved and took us away from the crowds.

We got to see so many huge trees. Honestly, everything around us was just huge. Not every tree had the circumference of a sequoia tree but they all towered above us. We were in a forest with a bed of pine needles but couldn’t reach out and touch a single branch. It was surreal.

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…there are people hidden in all three photos…

I knew the trees would be massive and was fully prepared to be awestruck by their size. I was not prepared for how many of them had fire damage. I think its safe to say that 99% of the sequoias in the park had some extent of fire damage. Some trees were almost completely charred for hundreds of feet but still managed to sustain green pine needles at the top. It was pretty incredible. These trees are so resistant to fire because their lives depend on it – without fire the pine cones would not pop open and new trees would never grow. It’s a very interesting circle of life.

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To keep things interesting in our quest to take 2 million photos we set out on a quest to photo bomb photos as often as possible. We were quite successful at popping into random shots. Of course, the only photos I have make Chris and I look like the jerks… In our defense we all let the photo be retaken without our silly faces in it!

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One of the most challenging parts of our visit to Sequoia National Park – aside from the weekend tourists – was getting photos that did any kind of justice to what we were seeing. Photos will never capture exactly how perfect nature is, but we sure tried. With trees so darn tall we spent a lot of time either backing up, scrunching down or just flat out laying on our backs! Now, if only we had cameras that made us look more professional while doing this…

We finished up our day with a drive over to Kings Canyon National Park and then back to our hotel. If we had had the time and energy we could have stopped to see more iconic sequoias in Kings Canyon but we were all hungry and ready for a shower after a very hot day of trekking around the forest.

Overall, we loved Sequoia National Park and I think its safe to saw we would go back in a heartbeat. If we did go back we’d do our best to be there during the week and we’d look into doing more long distance hikes just to get away from the crowds. Looking at a map of the full park there is a lot of space we did not explore. Of course, there are still miles and miles of trails we have not explored at Rocky Mountain National Park and that’s right next door! I think we can confidently check Sequoia National Park off our list, just not forever.


Comments

Sequoia National Park–So Big, So Tall — 7 Comments

  1. The photos are beautiful! I’ve always wanted to check out the sequoias. I know what you mean about national parks. They’re so beautiful and I love to visit, but we definitely try to do long distance hikes to get away from the crowds!
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