Today we drive into the Sequoia National Park. This will be a great day.
It's smokey but as we go higher the air clears. The smoke is from the San Bernardino fires which are 100’s of miles southwest of us.
Wow! There are huge trees here
Standing between giants! With just a picture it is hard to see how big they really are.
This is a cross section of a mature but not even a large Sequoia with all its bark removed.
There are two kinds trees that are most common in the park the Sugar Pine and the Sequoia. The oldest Sequoia are 3,000 years old. All the largest trees are over 2,000. They are not even mature until they have reached several hundred years old. The bark does not easily burn on a mature tree and insects will not burrow through the bark because its thickness and increased tannin near the wood. A mature tree will have over 2 feet of bark. When they reach maturity all the lower branches fall away leaving a huge trunk that extends a 100 feet or more above the ground. This makes it very hard for a fire to reach the limbs far above. The trees need fire to harden the bark and induce seeds to germinate. They don’t rot or die of old age. Biologists have determined that a Sequoia has no ultimate lifespan. Unless cutdown, ice age, or volcano it will not die under almost any other natural event.
Many of the largest trees are named. This one is named Sentinel.
The Sentinel tree is just an average size tree for this forest. Look close at the bottom and you can see the car.
The Sugar Pines are huge by comparison to regular pine trees but look tiny in this forest. The interesting thing about the Sugar Pine is the pine cones. They are huge!
The Sequoia by comparison has a pine cone that is about the size of a large chickens’ egg. From tiny seeds grows a gigantic tree.
Today we started with a hike to Moro Rock and it was exhausting but we had amazing views.
Hiking at over 6,000 feet is difficult when you start the day at about 500 feet.
It does not make it any easier when you are walking up a rock that includes 350 steps to get to the top of what is equivalent walking up over a 20-story building.
The views just kept getting better as we climbed. But when you look back to where we started, it was a bit overwhelming.
And at times it was a narrow path between the cracks in the rock.
Then there you are standing on the very edge of a gigantic granite outcrop. We were like tiny ants standing on a boulder.
After a time of taking in the views, it was time to head back down.
Then a hike on the Sugar Pine trail. A 1.4-mile hike through along the ridge and valleys between sugar pines and sequoia. First a quick look back at Moro Rock.
Yes, those are people way up at the top.
As we hiked, we came up on this Sequoia. Not a big tree for their species but still very impressive.
Let’s give a bit of perspective to the size.
These berries grew along the trail. They look well defended by the thorns.
Time for some lunch at the truck and after that we walked around the largest tree in the world. Redwoods and Sequoias are enormous. We seemed tiny standing under them.
The General Sherman is the largest tree on the planet by volume. It is not the tallest in this forest.
One that fell in 1959 was cut into a tunnel for people to walk through. It was only a small tree for this forest of only 12 foot in diameter at the base but still amazing.
We stood near trees that were thousands of years old. The oldest known Redwood is about 2,520 years old, but the oldest Sequoia is even older at a documented age of 3,200 years old.
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