Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Man Among Giants


On the first day of our family vacation we drove up to the Sequoia National Park. It's a long drive from the desert especially with two boys, ages 10 and 13 who like nothing better than to bicker about everything. I know my brothers and I were NEVER like that. Anyway, after six hours that felt like twelve we finally made it to the park.

After all the hours in the car I think my father in law, who came along with us, is very grateful he had three daughters and no sons.

Coming into the park you have spectacular views of Moro Rock.

Moro Rock is amazing until you get a glimpse of the Castle Rocks and the Fin. The Fin is the large rock on the left and the incredible Castle Rock Spire is the knife-like spire to its right. Climbers wanting to test themselves on the difficult faces are required to mount a full day approach through skin peeling brush, diamondback rattlesnakes, ticks, poison oak and steep difficult terrain. I ask the family if they are up for it but they tell me, "Not today". I guess the long drive took it out of them.

As we drive up the ever winding road up into the park, we come upon the huge trees that the park is named for. A picture cannot begin to capture the size of these monsters. You've got to come here. Only don't make the mistake we did. I guess today is part of a FREE weekend at National Parks and the place is packed. I imagine it's probably crazy on most weekends but this weekend is especially so.

At the museum at the Giant Forest there is an exhibit that gives you an idea of the size of these trees. The white line is the height of the Sentinel Tree, over two hundred and fifty feet tall. Only when you walk it do you realize how big it really is.

I check for trails and find this kiosk that shows hiking opportunities nearby. I decide to hike from here to the Sherman Tree. The family will drive there.

The first part of the trail is paved and I decide to take off on the first real trail that I see. Unfortunately, it is going the wrong way. I have to do a little cross country travel to get on the right path. No problem; I'm used to it.

This is the first tunnel of this type I have ever seen. I'll see another one before I'm done.

I finally get to a sign that sends me in the right direction. The Lincoln Tree is before the Sherman Tree and is one of many named trees in this forest.

After hiking a bit I come to this sign that says I have FURTHER to go. How'd I do that?

This is the Lincoln Tree. I can see the resemblance.

Once again, a picture just cannot capture the size of this tree. It's huge.

Here's the other tree tunnel.

I get to the Lincoln Tree and blow right on past it. This sign doesn't point the direction so I just head up the hill and find my vehicle. My family is nowhere to be seen.

I have to hike back down the hill and find them.

Between the two groves I didn't see a soul but at the Sherman Tree there are literally hundreds of people. Solitude is not what one comes here for.

I get the family and we hoof it back to the van. Even though the trail is easy there are several places to stop and sit along the way. We don't need those and Harrison even decides to run a bit.

On the way to Fresno we are given a fitting ending to a mostly fun day. Tomorrow we head to Yosemite and I won't be able to update them but you can be sure I'll be doing a hike. The only question is: which one?

1 comment:

darlene said...

tell linda hi from me! i miss her at work. glad you all are enjoying your vacation.... fresno, yee-hah!!
from darlene