Let me just tell you, LA people, when Google says Sequoia National Park is only 3.5 hours away, they mean riiiight to the edge of the green area, which happens to be 7,000 feet below the Sequoias themselves. This is where we went last weekend, and while we started to feel like it would be a never ending drive, it was all worth it in the end.
After driving the windy roads all the way up the mountains, the air started to thin and it was cool and sprinkling. There had apparently been a storm right before, closing some hikes, but nothing but a few rain drops when we got up there. It was probably 55 degrees (just guessing)--so welcome when it's 95 at the bottom. We kept climbing! What's amazing is that as you drive up (if you come in from the west at least) the trees get larger and larger, starting with brush. Sequoias are the largest living things on Earth, and you can't even tell you're in a forest of them until you're right up at the top.
So many perfect trees. I think this is where the ideal Christmas tree came from...
Finally, around 5pm we arrived at the largest organism in the entire world. What's cut out of the photo are all the people at the bottom taking pictures. The air is so thin up there at 7,000 feet, you have to take it easy when hiking around.
Each part of the forest is totally different from the rest; there are clearings and patches of trees alternating everywhere. I was so disappointed because the hike I'd planned through the meadows was another hour or two deep into the forest--what we saw was just the beginning--but it was already so late. So typical of me to think I have more hours in the day than there are!
Kevin had never seen redwoods before so he was pretty impressed. We were both actually thrilled to smell some of that fresh air. I loved the trees. I loved the clouds. I loved the crisp air and threat of rain.
Most of the time I felt like I couldn't really capture the enormity of the trees, but as we drove on I stuck my Nikon out the sunroof and started messing around. These images turned out to be my favorites.
Reminds me of Snoqualmie in Washington.
Before we turned around to go back down we found this little lodge (so wish we had stayed there) with a shop and restaurant. More pretty Christmas trees were met with two reindeer lounging in the patch of grass and shrubs right in the middle of the parking lot.
On the way down I was finally able to take in the view a bit more, since we were on the inside for most of it. I'm very, very afraid of heights. Just peeking out the window as Kevin drove made me nervous. Luckily most of the drive has barriers, but I felt really proud (though I was kind of forced to) to conquer a piece of the Sierra Nevada like this.
It was 8 by time we got back down, so we caught the sunset on our drive west.
Can't wait to go again.