Walking with giants

9Yes, Sequoias are giants.  They’re earth’s biggest organisms.  Again, visiting Sequoia National Park was like a pilgrimage.

Where’s the Park?  It’s on the southerly portions of the Western Slopes of California’s Sierra Nevadas, about 50 southeast of Fresno.  I drove from Sedona to Flagstaff to Barstow to Bakersfield to Three Rivers and then into the Park.

Once you’re within the Park high, winding roads lead to the Sequoias.  You’ll make yourself sick if see all the groves in one day.  Take your time, especially at the groves themselves.

Yesterday, Thursday the 27th, I made it to the General Grant Grove, whose prize is the General Grant Tree, with a 29′ diameter and 270′ height.  This tree is awesome.  The whole grove is awesome!  Coulda’ stayed there for hours.  Camping amidst the Giants would be great.  Aber das ist verboten!  Thus, you rush up to experience them, and rush out, because that long, winding drive weighs heavily on your mind.  The modern world is a blessing and curse.

But the time was still sweet.  The best was getting away from others, and winding along a natural trail, off the main one, up the gentle hills that channel small streams making trickling sounds that echo throughout the giants.  Here each step is soft.  Pine, fir and sequoia needles pad the ground, and suppress brush growth, thus allowing you to see far within the forest that stretches for hundreds of miles along the mountain tops.

The sun was shining.  Clouds floated with haste across the blue, casting shadows that make a wonderful contrast on the red wood, as with red rocks.  Thus, I photographed, and photographed.  This made time sweetest.  Two hours passed before I realized the comfortable chill in the breeze was becoming cold up at 7,000′.  More clouds were rolling in, so I headed for lower elevations.10

But not before stopping at the Big Stumps.  Here Mark Twain, in 1890, chose a Sequoia to be cut down, so its cross-section could be on display at the Natural History Museums of New York and London.  Its stump still stands.  So do other giants.  Took more photos while trying to avoid ground soaked from snow melt and snow itself.  I can’t imagine how heavenly this land is in July and August.

Then I headed down to Fresno.  Had to see the Central California Valley unfold from the Sierra Nevadas.  And, my gosh, what greenery!  What agriculture!  Seriously, it’s sad to think there is such poverty in Fresno with massive wealth growing into all four horizons (but I blame GOVERNMENT).

The views on the w7ay to Fresno were almost as powerful, for me, as the Sequoias.  I can’t imagine the excitement early developers of California felt for realizing the potential of the Central Valley.  After all, the Sierra Nevadas are water magnets, who make snow and send the melt down  their canyons into rivers that criss-cross the Valley, and give life to one of the largest agricultural dynamos in the world.  The money that has been made here!

But Sequoias are the Sierras’ most impressive product.  And I’ve only seen a fraction of a fraction of them.  I will see more.  But, frankly, my time in California only makes me appreciate Sedona, Arizona all the more.

So look at my neat photos!  I added comment to them…


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