Yosemite is one of the best known national parks in the US. It's a valley with epic granite spires, rock climbing, waterfalls and wildlife. One of the things that first time visitors to Yosemite might n0t know is that it also has big trees. Like ginormous trees. Giant sequoias. The largest living things on earth.
Unfortunately, when we visited Yosemite on our California Road Trip, the most famous grove of giant sequoias - the Mariposa Grove - was closed for restoration work. So what's one to do if they want to see huge trees at Yosemite then? You go next best. So we went for a hike in Tuolumne Grove - located along Big Oak Flat Road - which contains about 20 trees.
The hike is approximately 2 miles long and we started on a brisk fall morning. Fortunately, the hike to the grove of trees is all downhill. Unfortunately, the hike back up is all uphill.
It's a fairly easy hike and we were only one of a few hikers on the way down. It was eerily quiet except for hearing a twig snap or some leaves rustling every now and then.(Many more people were starting the hike as we were finishing.)
The hike is a nice loop so you can see several of the trees and come right back to where you started to start your hike back up.
Counts of growth rings on fallen sequoias have shown their age to exceed 3000 years. Natural resistance to fire and insect enemies is the reason for the great age attained by these magnificent trees. The sap and wood of the sequoias has so much tannin in it that they are immune to most attacks from insects and fungi. And their thick bark usually insulates them from ground level forest fires.
If you haven't seen one in person - and looked up at one in all it's majesty and seen one of the largest living things on earth - I hope you get a chance to someday. Try to make it happen. You'll be glad you did.
If you go:
-The Mariposa Grove Road and the Mariposa Grove - which contains 200 giant sequoias - is closed for restoration until Fall 2017. It is located near the park's south entrance, off the Wawona Road (Highway 41)
-The Tuolumne Grove has about 20 trees and the Merced Grove has about 25 trees. Both are located off the Big Oak Flat Road and you must hike 2 to 3 miles before you see sequoias. It's an easy walk downhill and a tough walk back up - gaining some 700 feet in elevation - at Tuolumne Grove.
This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox and Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute!