Friday, May 7, 2010

Our First Look at the Sequoias

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Trees in Yosemite National Park includes trees that can be called "ancient."  Having seen pictures of these majestic trees in magazines, text books and movies made we want to actually see them up close and personal.

So once again Sandy and I headed up California Highway 41 to Yosemite.  It was a drop-dead-beautiful day in the High Sierras with temps in the mid 60s, lots of sunshine and a slight breeze.

The grove of trees is located two miles from the main gate.  But due to the fact that the soil is still wet from winter snow melt, the paved road into the grove is closed to all but small park vehicles.  The weight of big cars, small trucks and heavy shuttle buses would compact the wet soil and negatively impact the Sequoia roots where they run under the road.  So we began our hike.  We wear hiking shoes and I always wear Thorlos hiking socks with extra thick cushion soles. These socks are fabulous and help defer foot aches and pains.  We hiked 5.6 miles today, so there were some aches and pains.

By now you are probably remembering that there are also huge Redwood trees in California and wondering what is the difference between Sequoias and Redwoods.   The Sequoias and Redwood are all related, and if you are interested this site will provide more information:

Within the grove we came across the "Fallen Monarch which has been on the ground for at least 200 years.  From the ground to the top of the roots is about 15 feet.

We also stood in awe of the "Grizzly Giant", estimated to be at least 1800 years old (below).

The Grizzly Giant tree (top photo)  is 210 feet high.  This photo provides some idea of its immense size. You can also see some fire damage to the center of the trunk.  Fortunately, the Sequoias are very fire resistant due to their extremely thick bark.  Interestingly, fire is necessary to help their seeds germinate under soil conditions enhanced by fire.

Finally, I recently discovered that my new digital camera will also take video images.  So every once in a while I will try to capture something of interest.  Here is my first attempt.  It is a small stream running through the Sequoia grove.

Stay tuned.

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