Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sequoia National Forest

America's Second Oldest National Park

We drove west on 180 toward the Giant Sequoia National Monument. A winding road along the mountainside with a beautiful vista of the valley below. (We didn't stop to take any pictures until on the way back down.) The Visitor Center we came to was actually for Kings Canyon, so no Jr Ranger program for the girls this time. We opted not to drive another hour further into the park to Lodgepole Visitor Center. Kings Canyon Scenic Byway was still closed for winter,  so we enjoyed the nearby trails and trees. 

General Grant Grove includes the 2nd or 3rd (we saw signs that claimed both?) largest tree in the world, based on volume, the General Grant Tree. We meandered through the massive trees on several short trails.

The trees are so tall I couldn't fit their entirity in the camera lens! Their bases can grow up to 40' in diameter (while Redwoods grow to 22' -slender and taller). One trail leads through the inside of 'fallen monarch'. The main cause for sequoia death is toppling because of their shallow root system.
The picture on this sign shows the loggers posed in front of this fallen tree in the 1880's.
Left of Riley is where we came out after having walked through it.

The above tree had a small stream trickling through it. The children had fun running and jumping over it. Here comes Cora ready for a leap and landed on Annie's foot, wobbled off balance, and sat down hard, backwards in the water. Oh! Such weeping, wailing, (and laughter from all observers). Daddy wrung her out and got her smile back. We had fun spotting different sizes and shapes of pine cones. 

Picnic lunch closeby. Shannon got a call from home -always a delight to talk with family & friends in Pratt! There was a tour bus stopped here for lunch as well. One of the passengers told me they were from Paris, France touring CA, AZ, UT, & NV in 14 days. While we were all eating, a 30' dead branch fell off a tree and crashed to the ground with a thunderous reverberation. Thankfully it was in a clearing, though a mere 200 feet away from our picnic table!

Next we drove to Big Stump. Cora & Meg were sleeping so Shannon took the other 3 on the 30 minute trail and snapped a few pictures. Amazingly these giant trees are fire resistant and fire is key to seed dispersal and seedbed fertility. 

It became cooler and foggy in the afternoon. We were glad to load up and wind down to the sunny warm valley for a hot supper waiting at The Cockrell's.

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