Giant Sequoia National Park Day 2, Giant Grove

On the second day we woke up less frozen than the cold beckon first welcomed. South from camp was General Sherman, the largest tree in the world, and his aspiring cohorts in congress edging for the record themselves. Among the rigidly tall pine trees, the sequoias stood separate and domineering.

Walking down the path to see the tree named for the man who burned the south.

Apparently, maintaining a national forest requires some amount of political nodding.

Sequoia. Plain and simple.

The legend wasn't pretty, but it was large. I think it's funny that a tree a couple millennia old is named after a man from only a couple centuries ago.

Just little me.

Although late morning in late summer, the sun managed to creep between the branches.

One reason sequoias are so large is their ability to survive fire. These were burned, but new growth began to cover the wound.

Other burn victims weren't so lucky.

Looking the trail, one sequoia had a mild tumble.

These trees continue to grow wider long after they peak in height.

Long shadows ebbed from long trunks.

A full grove.

The good, the bad, and the lucky.

Until fire clears the lower brush to free the sunlit spaces, no young sequoia has a chance to make it.

A humongous trunk.

Paying my respects to the president.

The president.

The senate was a tightly knit grove most likely from the same fire.

A beautifully busy picture. Note it all. Just one big check mark.

More trail. I know you're jealous. Don't worry, you can go too...next time.

Long way up.

Refusing to fall, these pillars of ash and ember were still majestic.

Any way looks good.

McKinley, the tree.

Keep breathing.

More forest. Perhaps, morest?

Lesser morning, more afternoon.

Can't go over them. Can't go under them. Can't go around them...

I think my favorite sequoia shot.

...and of course, with this view, who wouldn't be breathless?

Overlooking sequoia and pine alike.

The taller trees definitely had an advantage.

A sharp drop from the lookout.

The summit! Everyone had their moment at the top.

What a view. The mountains are nice, too.

Hollywood magic and a green screen. No! Wait, I was really there!

Taking it all in... the small pictures do it no justice.

Bigfoot! There!

How many sequoias do you see?

Ah, green.

We had time for a short hike, and there was a marsh where sequoias crowded the edge. Only a mile hike around, we decided it was a nice, FLAT ending to our hiking needs.

Strolling through the trees.

The sequoias wouldn't grow in the marsh because it was too wet, and the trees would fall over. Just at the edge though proved to be excellent breeding grounds.

It's amazing how much they stand out.

More along the easy hike. Lots of signs explained the marsh's history and sequoia qualities for those that hadn't done their homework.

Smile.

The tree is giving birth to a rock! PUSH! I want to be in that picture.

Wish, granted.

Pick your postcard. A few had strayed out into the marsh perhaps during dryer centuries. It was amazing to consider how much the landscape must have changed over the trees life cycle.

Two full grown adult.

This one survived a couple fires.

Nice lighting.

It was hard to leave the park. So...we didn't. Deb and I became park rangers. I grew a mountain man beard and look after the squirrels. Deb specializes in sequoia aerobics to keep those older trees in their youthful spirit.

Full grown sequoias have many full branches that extend from all sides. As the branches age and die, the tree can no longer support vertical growth, yet continues to gain volume. These monarchs then become the famous pillars weighing thousands of tons.

He's on the basketball team.

Another burn victim.

Saluting the fallen before the long drive home.

The long drive home through the valley.

For those who haven't seen the valley, imagine this, and keep going.

Over the mountains lay LA and the rest of southern californian life that waited over those hills. We hesitated too.

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