Tag Archives: SEKI

Complete California Vacation 2011 Series

Lembert Dome

Well, I clearly took the whole vacation recap to a whole new level this summer  😉 My dinky posts from last summer’s Yosemite trip pale in comparison to the 17 full posts for this summer’s Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and San Francisco adventure. Whew!

In case you missed any of it – and to just make it easier to access the whole series of posts – here’s a recap of the recaps. Enjoy!

Yosemite Arrival

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Tour of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Mono Lake

An Evening in Tuolumne Meadows

Hiking Lembert Dome

Exploring Tuolumne Meadows

Stop in Yosemite Valley

Onward to SEKI

First Taste of Sequoia National Park

No Room at the Inn

Kings Canyon

Tokopah Falls

The Giant Sequoias

Moro Rock Madness

Muir Woods

San Francisco in Pictures

 

California Vacation 2011: Moro Rock Madness

Rewind…

After our first full day in SEKI, we returned to Three Rivers and settled into the best hotel option close to the park. Finally, a good night’s sleep. We slept in a little to make up for the night before, and then cleaned up to hit the complimentary breakfast.

Breakfast was swamped, and we once again had to deal with people who either didn’t care or didn’t realize that they weren’t the only human beings on the planet, let alone in the room. Not the start to the day we were hoping for. We encountered more of the same at the gas station en route into the park. After dealing with more rudeness, Jason and I decided we had had enough. We returned to the hotel, took the early check-out fee, grabbed our bags, and got the heck out of there. We called our hotel in San Francisco and were able to get in a night early. We only had a couple things left to see in Sequoia, and first up was Moro Rock.

Moro Rock

Just a shuttle ride away from the Giant Forest Museum is Moro Rock, a large granite dome at a 6,725-foot elevation. 400 stone steps take you to the top of this huge rock.

Climbing Moro Rock

Climbing Moro Rock

No joke, I was terrified. The stone steps have been built along the edge of the rock, so there’s only a metal railing separating you and a nice little drop  😯

You would think that people in such an environment would be observant and polite. If this is the case, you would be wrong. I don’t know what scared me more – the exposure on the side of a mountain or the stupid people who were everywhere. We managed to make it to the top without major incident.

The face of fear.
Top of Moro Rock

Mountain Views from Moro Rock

The infamous under-construction road.
Looking Down on the Foothills

Looking Down on the Foothills

There was no way I was going out there…
Top of Moro Rock

I didn’t move around a lot up there, and both of us were happy to start our descent. And that’s when things got interesting…

I know enough about hiking etiquette to know that you give the right-away to descending hikers, as gravity is working in their favor. On a related note, the steps are broken up into multiple flights with small landings scattered throughout, making it possible to go up and down a basically single-file staircase. Not that I expected anyone else to adhere to proper hiking etiquette, but I did hope that people would be aware of their own safety and the safety of others.

Jason and I were a quarter of the way down the rock at best, with me following behind him. We were halfway between landings when another hiker rounded onto our flight of steps from the lower landing. And he really didn’t care that we were there. With room for only one person to be comfortably on a step at one time, we were on a collision course.

I watched in horror as the other hiker pushed past Jason, without even feigning to turn sideways. Jason quickly turned sideways himself, gripping onto the railing.

I was scared. I was mad. I was done.

We decided to skip Crescent Meadow, even though it was one of our best chances for spotting a bear. Honestly, we almost skipped seeing the world’s largest tree. The fear of regret stopped me though, and we quickly hit up the General Sherman Tree. If we had visited SEKI and not seen that tree, it would have been ridiculous.

Jason and I tried very hard to not let other people ruin our experience. However, we encountered people who were actually blocking us from having an experience.

Now that we would have more time, we hoped for better in San Francisco…

California Vacation 2011: The Giant Sequoias

It obviously wouldn’t be a trip to Sequoia National Park without seeing the famed giant sequoias!

When Jason and I visited Yosemite last summer, we took the drive to the Mariposa Grove a Giant Sequoias. Honestly, the trees didn’t really do anything for us. They were just trees – big trees, but still just trees. I think both of us were ready to be underwhelmed once again. We were wrong.

The giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park are pretty incredible. We caught our first glimpse of these trees on our initial drive into the park. We continued beyond the construction into the Giant Forest. And there they were! It was indescribable to be driving in what looked like a normal forest and then BAM, there’s a massively huge tree right in front of you. To see these giant trees interspersed among “regular” trees was pretty cool (although the regular trees were not exactly small).

Before we made our stop to see Tokopah Falls, we visited the Grant Grove to see the General Grant Tree. The General Grant Tree is the third largest sequoia tree in the world and is estimated to be more than 3,000 years old. It is the Nation’s Christmas Tree, a designation bestowed upon it by President Coolidge in 1926.

General Grant Tree

General Grant Tree

General Grant Tree

The photos don’t come close to doing justice to the size of these trees.

As we entered the park for the last time on our final day, we once again drove through the Giant Forest on our way to the parking area for the Giant Forest Museum and Moro Rock.

Giant Forest

Giant Forest

Giant Forest

Giant Forest

I loved the Giant Forest!

After we checked out Moro Rock (I’ll share that fun story next time), we had one more thing to see before we were done with SEKI: the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree (by volume) in the world!

General Sherman Tree

General Sherman Tree

No wonder we were more impressed with the sequoias this time around. In SEKI, we saw the first and third largest trees (out of the 30 largest Giant Sequoias, 13 are in SEKI). The Grizzly Giant, which we saw in the Mariposa Grove, is #26 on the list. Yeah…

I am so glad that we visited Sequoia/Kings Canyon if for nothing more than to see these trees. They totally changed our impression of the giant sequoias, and they are something that everyone should see at some point in their lives.

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