Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Trip Post 2--Sequoia National Park!

Sequoia National Park was my kids' favorite park out of the 5 we visited. It wasn't because of the spectacular trees, although, they were impressed. It was because we got to see 5 bears up close in the wild.

Also, 2 hikers had been missing for over a week and were found on the day we visited. I bought local newspapers on the trip, whenever I got a chance, and I had read about the missing hikers that morning. During the day, we saw the rescue helicopter, and that night on the news we saw that they had been found.

We started out at a Visitor's center, and then made our way to "The Sentinel Tree".

After that we made our way to Moro Rock. My parents and the kids and I started up the 400-step stairway to the top. The older 3 kids sped ahead with my Dad. My Mom was walking slowly and my youngest son and I were taking each turn as it came. I finally got to a certain part, and in my mind I knew I wasn't going up any higher. At the same time, my son said he was ready to head back down, so it worked out well ;-). The older kids and my Dad made it to the top. They were literally in the clouds, and the view was wonderful.

Its amazing when you see people, or even a vehicle next to the trees. It gives you some perspective on how awesome they are.

We then headed to "General Sherman", which is the biggest living thing in the world. Redwoods are taller, but Sequoias are bigger.

We were walking back up the trail from seeing "General Sherman" when we saw the bears. The kids had run ahead, which we heard many times later at that park and others, "children should not run ahead because of bears and mountain lions, etc..".

The bears were completely oblivious to the fact that we were there. Before we arrived, we found out that a Mama Brown Bear had gotten into a spat with a Black Bear because the black bear had gotten too close to her cubs. Mama Bear had 2 cubs and she was way up in a tree whipping down pine cones to them. There was also another brown bear on the scene. It was amazing how close we were to them. My Dad worked for the U.S. Forest Service his whole life and this was his first time seeing bears in the wild. It was a sight to see.

I made sure I was close to my kids and after awhile we figured we shouldn't tempt fate anymore, and we left.

Basic Sequoia National Park facts:
--There are 388 National Park Areas in the U.S.
--Sequoia National Park was created in 1890
--John Muir was instrumental in protecting/preserving this park as well as Yosemite and others
--It is located in Central California
--It is high in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
--It is famous for having some of the biggest trees in the world
--There are 2 surviving kinds of Sequoia trees--the redwood & the giant sequoia
--The Sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years, in part because they are fire-resistant
--There are about 30 Sequoia groves at the park
--One of the largest is the "Giant Forest"
--The "General Sherman" tree is located in the Giant Forest, it is named after the famous Civil War general and the tree is the BIGGEST living thing in the WORLD

--Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

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