Friday, May 18, 2012–Walking Among The Giants

Today was a special day; George had laid out an aggressive itinerary.

Our first stop was at the NPS Lodgepole Visitors Center and Lodgepole Market. At the Visitors Center, George verified our itinerary, and we all walked through the exhibits. We purchased a few snack items and coffee at the Lodgepole Market, and were off for a full day of hiking.

A half mile hike down a fairly steep trail with some stairs led us to the world’s largest tree, the General Sherman Tree.

Along the way we passed many of the world’s largest trees, but my photos are no match for their magnitude and magnificence. The General Sherman Tree and Trail led us to the Congress Trail where many more of the gigantuan specimens live. The Congress Trail gets its name for two sets of trees, the Senate and the House, and a tree named The President.

This hike was one of our top 3 day hikes of all time, and left us speechless and in awe.

After a strenuous climb back to the parking lot, we drove to the Giant Forest Museum which provided a lot of information on the giant sequoias.

We then drove to Moro Rock and made the steep 1/4 mile climb up a 300 foot gain in elevation staircase/trail to the top of this granite dome and were rewarded with a 360 degree panoramic view of the Great Western Divide.

Our next stop was the Crescent Meadow Trail which took us through seemingly hundreds of the gentle giants overlooking a couple of fragile alpine meadows. We crossed a small stream and saw some beautiful trout–we think they were golden trout which the park is trying to protect. Snow still remained on the ground in places as the trail has only been opened a short while. A couple of notable sites were Tharp’s Log Cabin, built into the end of a fallen tree, and Chimney Tree, a hollow, standing remnant of a burnt out tree.

After the arduous hikes of the day, we drove through the Tunnel Log, a fallen sequoia that was tunneled through and the only tree one can drive through in the two parks (Sequoia and Kings Canyon).

The Wuksachi Lodge was a welcome site. We had a great dinner in the Lodge restaurant, somewhat making up for the less than mediocre fare last night.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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