Grab coffee or a smoothie at the coffee shop, and sit out back in the picnic area or deck to enjoy it. You wouldn't know it from the front, but the coffee shop is right on the Kaweah River.
Don't forget your newspaper or book to read.
The large cones you find in the forest belong to the Sugar Pine, *not* the Sequoia. Sequoia cones are about the size of a chicken egg, and tightly closed. Fire is required to open them!
Sequoias rely on fire for reproduction. Their bark is made to withstand fires, fire is required to release the seeds from Sequoia Cones, and fires provide fertile soil for seeds to take hold, as well as clear a spot of sunlight in the forest.
The Cold Springs Trail was a scenic and short trail in the Mineral King Valley of Sequoia National Park. It's about a mile long, one-way, and can be either started from the Eagle Mosquito Trailhead or the Cold Springs Campground. The trail leads through aspen forest and meadows in the valley along the river, offering great views of Timber Gap and Sawtooth Peak. The trail also passes the ruins of Beulah, a former mining town. The hike is a good choice in the early morning.
This fairly easy trail, only 3.5 miles round trip, leads to great views of the Siliman Crest, the Great Western Divide, and the foothills. However, while we were there (around noon on June 21) we had the entire trail to ourselves. The trail begins from Little Baldy Saddle and immediately begins switchbacking up a forested slope. Soon, views of Big Baldy will appear. After climbing steadily for a while, the trail will level out as you reach the top of the ridge. On the fairly flat ridgetop, there are good views in all directions. But the best views come at the end, atop the round, flat summit of Little Baldy. This is one of the best day hikes in Sequoia National Park.
Unknown, rarely visited Mineral King Valley, accessible by a winding, bumpy 25-mile road, is a gem in Sequoia National Park. Here you can hike to alpine lakes, stroll along meadows, or stay in rustic cabins. It's a wonderful place, not to be missed. I recommend hiking the 7-mile round trip trail to Eagle Lake, which has really good scenery.
When I was at the tunnel log, taking pictures, all of a sudden I spotted this deer....
It wasn't alone, there were a whole group of them, in the foggy cold woods, with the snow on the ground. I crawled over a big wall of snow, brrrr it was cold, I was still wearing my miniskirt and sandles, and my feet were sinking deep in the snow. I sneaked closer to them.... wow, that was a beautiful moment.
But I could see that they got restless by my appearance, reacting nervously, keeping an eye on me all the time. I stood there for a while, very quiet, trying not to disturb them.
But one small deer decided to go, and jumped over a little stream to get further away from me. The rest followed, disappearing in the fog.
I drove into the mountains of Sequoia National Park, and all of a sudden a few people on the side of the road were looking down a hill. Of course I stopped, and this was the first time I saw a bear in the wild.... wow! I don't know what it is about bears, but they just seem to fascinate me. This was my first bear : an experience I won't easily forget.
These young Sequoias have a long life ahead of them. Unless they are killed by fire or severe rainfall, these little guys will be around for 2,000 or more years and will grow to a height of over 200 feet tall.
Three Rivers is the closest town outside the park. The town was named after the Kaweah River, which splits into three branches- the south, east and north. After Three Rivers, this flat road begins to climb steadily past the arid regions of the canyon. The scenery remains desert like for the first few miles until the road heads north into the cooler and less dry mountain region
Heading to or from Sequoia on Hwy 198, you'll cross the long flat San Joaquin Valley. This flat expanse of green and gold stretches for miles, offering only a glimpse of the Sierra Nevadas. Its a pretty interesting sight, as well as a nice drive.
This is a cross section of the trunk of a Sequoia that was cut down. It isn't even the entire circumference of the tree trunk, but yet it is taller than the man standing in front of it.
Its one thing to read about how huge these trees arel, but another to see it from this angle. It gives a little perspective on the mighty giants of this park.
Most visitors to this park do not do a lot of hiking on the established trails. As a result, Sequoias trails are pretty empty, which gives you the feeling of hiking in a remote location when you're really not too far away from the crowds.
This shot was taken along the Moro Rock trail, which is a short 1.5 mile trail beginning at the museum. The trail heads into a forest of sequoias and opens up at certain points to nice open views of the forest below. Its a nice and easy walk, and an alternative to driving to the Moro Rock parking area and searching for a spot.
Heading south through Sequoia towards Moro Rock, there's a turnoff for the Big Trees trail. The short trail leads around this meadow and has exhibits posted around the trail which explain why this area can support the growth of sequoias.
View of the General's Highway from above. Its hard to believe the number of people who speed down this road. I suppose they're used to traveling on roads like this, but it still doesn't look that safe.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who questions General Sherman's actual age and claim of longevity. The park officials, eager to get to the bottom of this, have determined that there is some underground fungi in the park which is bigger and older than General Sherman. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get a picture of this, as a photo of the world's largest collection of fungi must certainly be worth something.
But the park service went further in its truth seeking mission. There are groves of aspen trees, which, again, are presumably older than General Sherman. These aspen trees share a common root system (again, sorry that I have no photo). So, the park service argues, the grove of trees may be considered one living thing, beating out General Sherman in the now contested race to be the oldest living thing on earth.