Friday, November 1, 2013

Sequoia National Park ~ Sept 30, 2013

After breakfast we pack up and head for Sequoia, just south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon. First stop is to see the General Sherman tree. There is 0.4-mile (0.8-mile roundtrip) paved trail that descends from the parking lot to the base of the tree. Going down is a piece of cake, but coming back up the trail is a different ballgame at an altitude of 7,200 feet. Fortunately there are benches along the trail for sitting a spell and catching your breath.

 

General Sherman is between 1,800 and 2,700 years old and, measured by volume, is the largest tree in the world. It's about 275' tall and 36' in diameter. In 1879 the tree was named after the American Civil War general, William Tecumseh Sherman by naturalist James Wolverton, who had served as a lieutenant in his 9th Indiana Cavalry unit. It has survived fires and drought and continues to flourish. It has endured as countless civilizations have come and gone (think about this).

 
This grove is a breathtaking sight to behold and as you make your way back up the trail you'll see a whole different perspective. Next stop is the Giant Forest Museum which provides visitors with an introduction to the features of Giant Forest including giant sequoias, meadows, and human history.
 
From there we slowly head down the mountain on Hwy 198, a picturesque collection of switchbacks, dropping nearly 6,000 feet before arriving in the small town of Three Rivers for lunch. On to Mariposa for the night. We're thinking about heading to Lassen next.