The challenge of big trees: Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Big Trees, CA

So, what’s the challenge? A tree is a tree! Not when they are giant Sequoias! This was my first time at Calaveras Big Trees State Park , and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t quite as amazing as Sequoia National Park, but it had the same enormous trees.

Sequoias are redwoods, big in girth and not as tall as the coastal redwoods. Jean and I took the short, supposedly 1 1/2 mile walk around the North Grove. I walk my dog 2 miles about 6 mornings a week, but this walk took twice as long! There was so much to take pictures of. We started at the Discovery Stump and continued past the Three Graces, the Mother and Son, The Abraham Lincoln Tree, and the Old Bachelor. Some of the other visitors were picture worthy too!

Back to the challenge of taking these shots, you can’t get the entire tree in the image, especially with a crop sensor camera. I did try though! Here, take a look.

On the road again: Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and Fresno, California

“You can’t go home again!” You’ve heard that old saying, and going to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks was like going home for Richard and me. We used to take the kids camping there pretty much every summer. I just loved it there, but we haven’t visited in more than 30 years.

The good news is that nothing has changed in the parks. The same trails are there, campgrounds are the same and the sights are still beautiful. The bad news is that we have changed–we’ve gotten older! Oh, and the altitude is about 1,000 feet less than Bodie. We took a few simple walks and decided that we needed to get into shape. My goal is to do Little Baldy Saddle. It’s a beautiful walk through the woods and then about 1,000 feet straight up via a switch back trail. At least that’s the way I remember it!

Why haven’t we been there? Well, our previous trailer was too big to get into the park and Richard is on a CPAP machine at night, needing a generator to run it. I was told over the phone that they would not make exceptions for medical purposes and no generators could be run at night (there are no hookups). However, it was a different story when we talked with the rangers in person. We can camp there, and we found just the right spot that would accommodate our much smaller rig. That’s why we were in Fresno at an RV park. And staying in the National Park will eliminate the 1 1/2 hour ride each way on Highway 180. I will talk about how Fresno surprised us in another edition of this post.

Right now I want to introduce you to Sequoia if you haven’t been there. This park is home to the earth’s largest tree in wood volume. The General Sherman Tree is estimated to be 2,200 years old. Sequoia is also the second oldest National Park, being given the status in September 1890. The Sequoia tree is resistant to most disease and even fire because of the chemicals in their wood and bark. Different from the coastal redwoods, which are tall and thinner, the Sequoia is wide with a massive trunk, huge stout branches and is not as tall.

Take a look at these magnificent trees found only on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada usually between 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation. But, why when they get older, they get stronger; and, when we get older….?