17 September: In the Land of Giants – the Sequoia National Park

Author: Mr A

Location: Sequoia National Park, California, USA

We were both very excited by what lay ahead today. We were going to drive up into the world famous Sequoia National Park, home of the largest trees on the planet. Not the tallest or even the widest, but the most weight of wood in any one tree.

I was also pleased, but less excited, to be using my senior’s pass for US national parks, which you become eligible for over here at 62, so just scraped in. Saved us $60 on this one trip alone. One of many great thoughtful tips from Catherine’s friend Deborah, I obviously looked like I would qualify 🙂

It was a fabulous twisty turny drive up the Generals Highway into the park, and so nice to be driving a nimble little car and not towing a van!

Our first stop was the Information Centre, from which we wandered off into the forest and did a short walk to what was called Sunset Rock. As it was 11am it wasn’t crowded…that suited us just fine. We got a feel for the different flora and fauna here, with bushy tailed squirrels, for instance, darting around.Then we walked down into a grove of sequoia trees. I caught myself holding my breath. The aura and precense these giant trees have is palpable. To see them soaring up to 80 metres above our heads, and to think some of them are over 3,000 years old and still growing, I think they are a reminder from Mother Nature of our place in the world.I drove us on up into the heart of the park, to the area the famous US naturalist John Muir named when he first came across it in 1875 the “Giant Forest”. Not one to joke around, he had it spot on, as this area has the largest collection of the massive trees in the whole park, including the tree that is the single largest living entity on this earth, the General Sherman tree.We were just mesmerised. Every time I looked down at my feet then looked up again my eyes took a moment to adjust to the perspective, with stands of these incredible trees just dominating everything. Look at this photo for instance – “Honey I shrunk Mr A”!We then spotted a creature that looked like a rather portly marmot. Much larger than the ones we saw in France. Clearly he had been on the all you can eat High Sierra buffet!It was all too quickly time to head off to our lodging for the night, the Montecito Sequoia Lodge, high up in the park at 2,286 metres (7,500 feet). It described itself as “rustic” – and it is – delightfully so.

A ski lodge in winter, we have a cosy room with all we need. Better still, free wine and cheese tasting! I was less excited to see both reds were Zinfandels, but, I soldiered on, and even bravely consumed Catherine’s for her. We are even allowed to bring our own wine to dinner, how good is that. The food was in the help yourself to buffet style, great for Catherine who could avoid all the dairy contaminated options and still have plenty of choice. We are happy chappies…particularly with this incredible view from outside the dining room at sunset…just wow. Americans do this type of expereince really, really well. I vote we send a plane load of Aussie outback operators over here for some valuable learnings.

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