Giant Sequoias with Snow Day 4

I've done it twice now. Reading the online weather forecast for Giant Sequoia National Park I see numbers in the 50's, partly with the clouds, and what would be generally acceptable hiking weather for Candice and I to tour the largest trees on earth. Instead, this: 7.5 feet of packed snow and a heavy cloud front. We've never driven through thicker fog. We needed a deer. A real deer to the lead the way. A deer like Rudolf. But we were on our own.

Honestly, we were the only people on the trail. Two other cars accounted for the rangers at the lodge. We packed for spring but had enough layers for brief and winter. This was fine by us. Candice was at least warm and dry, for now.

A drunkards paradise: this was is clearly up.

I do get excited seeing the big trees. Candice was awestruck and wanted to share a high five with the old tree. I think it was more of a low five for the tree though... way down low.

Like portraits in an earthquake house, I had to give all of the trees a little nudge back straight. Ironically, we were able to get closer to the trees now than we could've in better weather. With the paths severely covered in snow, there wasn't any real risk to wandering off the path -- so long as you didn't sink to your hip.

Good, we've still got smiles. The pathing options included the beaten path, which now was thawed and melted into an ice walk, the newly pressed tracks from snowshoes, or the wild white wonder where you never knew if you'd sink or swim. It was quite a slow dance to the meadow trail.

Somewhere in here was a meadow.

Oh big tree and little Candice. To her credit, she was standing extra tall that very moment.

What we could figure, there were big people ahead. We kept our eyes open not to wake sleeping giants.

Little to nothing could be seen across the clearing. The air was cold and thin. We must have been equally fuzzy. We were definitely the only ones on the trail... at least that we could see.

Luckily the clouds had thinned just enough to at least appreciate the scale of grown and monarch trees. Even with the extra boost standing on snow, I don't think we would've gotten far climbing our own way up.

With an exhaling compassion typically reserved for puppies and kittens, Candice saw little self-made snowballs in the hill. They were little darling avalanches. Good thing they don't yet have teeth.

How many faces can you see in this picture?

What's up, Candice?

Oh. Yes. The trees. Of course. Luckily none were shedding cones at that moment. I can imagine they hurt.

More than halfway around and she's still smiling.

Through the mist the trees looked like the faded backdrops to movies. I should write a movie. Something about black holes. We could shoot it in the desert with cameras. It might be hard to convey just with a rough movie sketch, so instead I should write it into a short story and then adapt it to a movie. Oh, wait, working on these photos now is my distraction from actually writing that story. Stay focused on the distractions already! More trees.

We did exchange snowballs at one point, but by now our hands were cold. Noses were too, but luckily we weren't throwing those kinds of snowballs.

She does make a convincing sequoia.

Smell my hands -- they smell like needles and tree.

We are a family that likes to smell things.

I was so hot that I melted the snow near the base and seared the bark into charred curtains. It was very short lived.

If you think it's easy doing one night stands, try playing in a rock roll band. It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n roll. Candice and I were fine with listening from down here.

Super sleuth found footprints. We think they were small bears. Really small bears. Later we found out they were gummy bears and were we quick to not stand between the mother and her cubs. Mummy gummy bears are known defend their offspring viciously. We backed away slowly. We were safe.

Then we ate the gummy bears.

We were pretty convinced by this point that the mist, the tall trees, the emphatic quietude all contributed to the purgatory experience. It was a very philosophical and religious experience.

This is how you can tell there was at least 7 feet of snow. She had to dig down into the bathroom. Apparently the toilet paper was pre-moistened. I don't know what that means.

After our hike around the meadow, we were ready for some truck time to warm up. The sidewalks and trails were more difficult than practical at that moment.

Candice and I took to the streets.

We did drive down to see General Sherman, the largest tree in the world. It's always a humbling experience... particularly when you can wade off of the trail to see it in full glory. The pair at the base were surprised how hollow the bark sounded. Hey, honey, hear how hollow the bark sounds? Hear it?

Duh, hear how hollow it is... Candice mocks.

Through the afternoon the clouds were beginning to clear.

After our snacks of trail mix and beef jerky and energy bars, Candice grew 10x that hike. Those are the same giant sequoias. We were going to have one heck of a time getting her into the truck...

... but then we found the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland and Candie shrunk back down to normal size. We didn't have to endure the rest of the trippy adventures -- just the shrinking.

We came down the mountain and made a strong drive back down to San Diego. She got to see a great view of the central valley with clouds dressed over the grapevine ridges north of Los Angeles. This is why we road trip.

Starved and exhausted, I wanted to give Candice at least one Los Angeles experience. I know nothing about Hollywood and didn't want to navigate through to Santa Monica with so much driving yet to go. Instead, we had a brief visit at Universal City Walk. Karl Strauss won our business and wee had good food while taking in what California had become after seeing what it was naturally. Still smiling, I figured we were doing alright.

Domesticated palm trees and big lights.

Candice got a couple presents at the shops before they were closing down.

Oh come here you big ape.

We left happy. It would take us a whole day to recover from the bristling pace, but it was worth it. I got my 3 Cinnabon lights lit up for a picture. There was nothing more California could offer before sleep.