on August 28, 2005
Day 2 started with a 5-hour drive to Sequoia National Park. Inside Sequoia National Park, we checked in Wuksachi Lodge and moved our luggage and food to our deluxe room in the Silliman building. We were warned about the bears that roam the area, especially at night. After the sun came down a bit, we started our stroll along the Big Trees Trail. Reading the exhibit-style explanations along our route, we learned plenty about the trees. Redwoods and sequoias are in the same family but are different species. The redwoods, sequoia sempervirens, are the world’s tallest tree. The sequoias, sequoiadendron giganteum, are the world’s largest in terms of total volume of wood and are only grow in the west slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The trail skirts around the Round Meadow, as if the sequoias were guarding the flower beds in the middle. No sequoias grow in the meadow because the moisture level here was excessive and limited gas exchange from the trees’ roots. Any seedlings that sprouted here would die early. We also saw a lot of trunks with burn scars. The rangers perform controlled fires in the park to help the trees to reproduce. We stopped by the Auto Log, a short pathway cut on top of a fallen sequoia to help visitors like us compare our cars to the size of the giant trees. If that is not enough to inspire awe, the Tunnel Log found at the end of Crescent Meadow Road provides another example of the scale of a normal sequoia. A tunnel was cut through the fallen tree to allow cars through. On the way back to our lodge, we said hello to General Sherman, the largest living thing on earth. We split our time trying to figure out how to fit the entire tree in our camera’s viewfinder and swatting the mosquitoes that bombarded our arms and legs. By the time we ran back to our parked car, we had several shots of what is the official Christmas tree of the nation and about five insect bites each. We later learned that the tree was named in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman who served as a lieutenant during the Civil War. In fact, a lot of the sequoias are named to honor military leaders. We drove to the Moro Rock and climbed all four hundred steps to get a panoramic view of the Great Western Divide and the high Sierra canyons. The trail is only a quarter-mile trail, but the steep granite steps certainly made us feel like we were climbing more. I finally got to experience what I had only seen in National Geographic magazines when I was a child.
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