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California Adventure Pt. 4 - Giant Sequoias - This is a tree post - The art of Thornwolf — LiveJournal
California Adventure Pt. 4 - Giant Sequoias - This is a tree post
I think this trip revolved around seeing a bunch of trees, which is just fine with me.

We headed through King's Canyon to Sequoia National Park to see the giant sequoias. I've never seen them and since my mom just recently came back from her own NorCal adventure where this was one of the stops, I was especially happy when skorzy said this was a possibility.

As is the case with easily road-accessible places, we ran into a lot of touristy types (yes I realize we're tourists but I'm talking about the kind with the rented campers they can't drive and no volume control), but we found that our whole trip was made even more enjoyable since its still off-season for most of the country and the crowds were nowhere near as bad as they would be peak season. The great thing about California is our camping/road trip season is way longer than most of the rest of the country, but most people don't know that. Don't tell them though. Shh.



We have a lot of photos like this from this trip.

This is a fallen, hollow log that has been used for shelter for centuries. Because the sequoia is naturally impervious to bugs and rot, the logs can last for a ridiculous amount of time. It was pretty unreal, as it kind of reminds me of one of those waiting line features at Disneyland, like something you'd have to walk through on your way to Splash Mountain or something. I actually was marveling at how much more space it has than my home cabin :P I'd move, but, I bet the utility cost would be through the roof. I could just be that creepy woodland hermit, but it looks like skorzy has me beat with that idea.

The beautiful root side of the fallen log. Not pictured: the busload of very loud French people screaming into it, I suspect, trying to make it echo.

This is the General Grant tree as seen from the trail up to it. It is the largest sequoia in the park, and indeed it is a HUGE tree. Seriously look at it...its so beefy! We started calling it the "meat tree".

Look at those branchy biceps!

The henpecked husband of a very loud woman from Tennessee we encountered on the trail kindly took this photo of us on the fire scarred side of the General Grant tree.


What I noticed is that this really thick moss was not growing on the live sequoias, just the pines. The sequoia leeches out tannic acid that repels bugs, rot, fungus, pretty much everything (which is why the logs last so long), that I bet that's why moss doesn't grow on them either. There were teeny tiny credit card sized patches of moss in very old and possibly animal worn portions of the tree, but that's about it. Very interesting!

I swear when I first saw this I thought for certain there was a raptor loose in the forest and it was stalking me. Look at it! D:

On the other side of the park is the General Sherman tree, which is the largest sequoia by volume in the world. There's a 1/2 mile steep trail that goes down to it, which is fine going down but not so fine coming up. We kept passing people coming up who were all red faced and puffy, clearly not expecting to walk such a steep trail. The trail basically goes down the height of the tree. Strangely, the handicapped parking is at the BASE of the tree, which while this makes total sense, I don't know why they weren't able to make more parking down there for folks who want to see the tree but don't necessarily want to hike down that steep trail. Yeah yeah yeah lazy, but seriously I saw some folks doing this in flip flops and regretting it. Good news though, if you take the shuttle, the shuttle parking is in the handicapped area so you can see the tree without the hike.


We stopped half way though since we wanted to go to Moro Rock for sunset and we were running short on time. But you can see the people at the base of the tree for reference. BIG TREE.

The bricks in this paved area skorzy is balancing on represents the diameter of the base of the tree.

The Tunnel Tree!

We have a video of us going through it. It was stupidly amusing, I must say. If you're wondering where the OTHER tunnel tree is, the one you see in all the photos that's standing straight up and having cars passing through it, I just learned today why its not here.

Firstly, its called the Wawona Tunnel Tree and it's not even in Sequoia National Park. It's in Yosemite, so we JUST missed it on our travels there (we had no idea either). Also, it fell in 1969 :P So the log is still there, but that explains why there's no recent photo opportunities of cars going through it. We were wondering about it during our trip so I figured I'd share that little bit of info with you. Shame, but this tunnel tree is pretty cool too!

More later!
12 comments or Leave a comment
anuvia From: anuvia Date: September 20th, 2010 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Such beautiful pictures @_@

You're making me itch for a road trip to explore my own state now. I've lived in California for about 8 years and I've hardly seen much other than the counties of Riverside, San Diego and Orange. I'd love to go up north to see these amazing redwoods, Yosemite National park, and even go to the coast to travel up Big Sur.

Thanks for sharing pictures of your adventure, it really is awe inspiring to see these wonders, even if in a photo C:

Also, I was totally upset when you mentioned the famous tunnel tree had fallen.It was always one of those childhood fantasies to drive through it but now it feels a bit worse knowing it fell 20 years before I was even born!

I did google it though, and there is still a standing tunnel mtree here in California:

Maybe you can add it to your list of sights?
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 20th, 2010 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Ok I don't know if its just me but I feel some sort of "Omg NO WAY" when someone on the internet lives near me, so, HI! I know that's totally dumb because SoCal is kind of "the place to be" but, yeah...*points to icon* the IE is a bit different than OC and SD (where I grew up) in terms of social demographics.

While I highly highly recommend you go to these places whenever you're able as they're just breathtaking, there's so much to see even here in SoCal that are really great day trips if you just wanna get out for a bit but don't have the time for a full blown road trip. I don't know how long you've been following my journal or the photos you've seen that I've posted from previous adventures, but we frequently camp in Joshua Tree for example, and from where you are that's a totally doable day trip if you just want to see the park and not necessarily camp. I could give you a list of notable things to see while there as well. On the way there is the diner from Pee Wee's Big Adventure where "Large Marge" sent him, complete with the giant dinosaur statues, which is definitely worth a stop (and the food is /excellent/ diner food, I'm addicted to their berry cobbler).

Then there's Death Valley which is way worth it to see if you're into geological and extreme terrain stuff but still like something "roadside" (I like these types of things as I'm not an experienced outdoors person).

If you're a Star Trek fan and want to see the Vasquez Rocks (google search them if you haven't heard of them, you'll recognize them from something I'm sure) they're just a little bit north of LA.

This state has a LOT to offer, and I think that's why I really don't want to ever leave it if I can help it.

I was also very sad to read that the Wawona tree had fallen, as it too has been a lifelong dream of mine to find it and visit it. I still will I'm sure, well, the log anyways. It's in Yosemite after all, I feel kind of silly for being "just there" and not knowing. I did indeed see that wiki link to the Chandelier Tree! I was just talking to skorzy today about how I've never been through really NORTH California outside of visiting family in Shasta, and that we should make a trip there at some point. I will definitely have to add it to my list :)
shoomlah From: shoomlah Date: September 20th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was just about to post the chandelier tree, actually! Totally worth checking out Redwood National Park if you ever have time- it has a completely different feel to it's giant trees. All temperate rainforest and ferns, very pretty. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fern_Canyon CANYON FULL OF FERNNNSSSS SO PRETTY

thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 20th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh heck yes I am SO going now :D
anuvia From: anuvia Date: September 20th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha! Inland Empire, YEAAAH. I'm out in Murrieta, myself. Lots of nothing out here, aside from an abandon mill (which has it's own charm too).

I've always wanted to hit up Joshua Tree, and especially that diner haha. I will get a picture with those dinos someday, come hell or high water, haha.

I've always wanted to take a road trip across the country and hit up all the silliest little pieces of Americana on the way, starting with that diner and then the Wigwam Hotel (I freaked when you posted about it before, haha). I'd love to take Route 66 as much as possible for history's sake, and just see it all. The problem is, that's a pricey trip so I'm focusing on California for now, especially considering it has so very much to offer.

But heck yeah! If you wouldn't mind sharing your list of awesome stuff to do and see in Joshua Tree, I would be very grateful!

Again, thanks for sharing all the photos and experience <3
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 20th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sure! What's your email? I'll consult skorzy and send you a writeup :)

I used to live off of California Oaks myself. There really is nothing to do there unless you go to Temecula or Riverside >_< But I admit I didn't explore too much of it.
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thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 20th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
You should! I'd like to camp in SNP sometime. It wasn't in the cards this time just because of time constraints (though we did think about it, the thought of dragging out that HUGE tent again also wasn't very appealing...next time...when we have a new tent I'm sure)
chenneoue From: chenneoue Date: September 20th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. It's so beautiful out there. :o And those trees are awesome, the colors and textures... :)
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: September 20th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really wish we could go off the trail so I could touch one of the live ones but I can totally understand why we weren't allowed to. Anywhere that wasn't blocked off, assholes have carved their names into stuff, including the shelter log ;/

Fortunately skorzy's camera has a really great zoom :3
chenneoue From: chenneoue Date: September 20th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Idiots... why don't they go do that to their own tree... oie. On a positive note: Thank goodness for good equipment! :D
marurun From: marurun Date: September 20th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those are some BIG TREES. Wow. Also, the pavement spot Skorzy is standing on makes me think of Indiana Jones. I don't know why, it just reminds me of the Last Crusade for some reason. XD
was1 From: was1 Date: September 21st, 2010 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember the redwoods from a family trip in 1980 or 1981. They're really impressive!

Hmmm, we have a picture and I remember driving through another one of those tunnel trees, but it's not the shot you have and it would've been after the other one fell down, so there must be another one somewhere.
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