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!