Ginormous It is virtually impossible to imagine the enormity of the Giant Sequoias until you have actually seen one, and even when you see them it is difficult to capture their size… unless you have something next to them… as scale! Something like Dan!
Slush We enter the park from the north side through Kings Canyon National Park's entrance. The parks both were hit by a late winter storm the previous week so there is quite a bit of snow making the sights even prettier. Though the same beautiful snow was melting throughout our entire trip, making a mess of the trails and soaking our feet. Kings Canyon is beautiful but we are anxious to see some big ass trees, so we don't dilly dally too much and head south.
Sapling We see our first sequoia right on the edge of the road… a little baby about 10 feet in diameter. Wow! This majestic tree was just there… doing its thing… as our car drives by. Exciting! Then we see more and more of them. They are truly impressive and so very massive, and pretty much impossible to photograph.
General Sherman is the largest living thing on earth! Every year it grows new wood equivalent of the mass of a 60-foot-tree of usual proportions. Just amazing. Our fabulous parking karma prevails and we find a rock-star spot in the General's parking lot. Boom! A short walk later - in slush I might add - we are standing next to this ginormous tree! There is no way to explain the feeling of looking up at its immense branches. Goose Bump City, USA!
Obama The next day we hike the Congress Trail - did we mention melting slush? - thru groves of Sequoia: The House group, The Senate group and El President! The red "Danger!" tape all around him doesn't stop us from continuing on the trail and sitting on the bench right next to him. While gazing up at it, and admiring its beauty we notice this massive - I mean MASSIVE - branch just precariously kind'a dangling. Do'h! After a few quick camera-posed photos, and getting yelled at by the angry fat lesbians, we are back on the trail. Phew! Crisis averted.
Go Home One interesting thing about Sequoia National Park is the nonchalantness of the rangers. In every park we have ever visited, the rangers are Chatty McChatterson factmos. Here, no such thing. They don't recommend trails, they don't recommend sites, they just causally answer questions in the most uninspired manner possible. At the Sequoia museum the gal stops short of telling us to pack up and go home! For example she doesn't bother to mention Beatle Rock to us.
Beatle Rock is this granite area with just magnificent views of the valley… RIGHT ACROSS the museum! All she had to do is point! Noooo. Sooo glad we didn't miss it. Though to her defense, she did tell us about Moro Rock, another massive granite dome typical to the Sierra Nevada. We climbed the 400 stone steps to the top - 6725' elevation - and boy is it worth the climb! And as though this isn't enough excitement, on our way back we run into a mamma bear with her two absolutely adorable teddy-bear looking babies… casually hanging out in a meadow by the road! Best day ever!
Water? No! To add to the excitement of the trip is the breakage of the main water line to the park. We notice the gushing water on the first day and don't think much of it. We even take a picture as we drive by. By the next morning our hotel has shoved a note under our door noting that the faucet's water was no longer potable… and by the afternoon it isn't good enough to even brush our teeth with. The restaurant doesn't have water to wash dishes either so we eat some pretty fancy dinner on paper plates and with plastic utensils. Though they do give Dan a real steak knife, and bring us real wine glasses for our bottle of Denner Ditchdigger.
Exotic Once, during a trip-brainstorming session, Assana recommends visiting national parks to her aunt Tara. Tara's reply was that the parks are not "exotic enough" for her and our niece Nicole. As we stand among these massive trees of thousands of years old, we can't help but think of everything that has come and gone in their life span: the rise of the roman empire, the inception of the city of Paris, the Middle Ages, the Civil War, the birth of democracy, Electricity, Mozart, Theory of Relativity, Battle of Zama, Leonardo da Vinci! Now, that is what we call exotic!