Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Big Trees

I love trees!  So, going to Kings Canyon and Sequoia to see the Giant Sequoia trees was pretty exciting!  They're some of the oldest living trees on earth.  They can live to around 3000 years.  Yes, you read that right.  Pretty amazing, huh?!  And, they grow up to 310 feet high and 35' wide.  That's BIG! 

On our first day out to explore, we stopped at Grant Grove in Kings Canyon.  Check out the size of the trees in the center of the next picture.  The trees just to the left are really big.  That can give you an idea of how EXTRA BIG the Giant Sequoias are.  They're amazing.


Here's my daughter taking a picture of a massive redwood...


Look how tiny she and some of the other visitors look next to these giant trees...


Magnificent!


Their thick bark makes them resistant to fire.  However, if the fire is too hot and intense, the inside of the tree may burn.  It's not uncommon to find a tree that is hollow on the inside but still very much alive.  The water and nutrients it needs are carried up the tree through the outside layers.  Fire can actually be good for them.  The heat releases seeds and the ash mineralizes the soil and provides important nutrients for them.


The azaleas growing underneath them in Grant Grove were so pretty!...


There is a fallen tree in Grant Grove that has been hollowed out by fire. 
 Look at the size of the bottom section...


The park has made this tree accessible and welcomes visitors to explore the inside. 
It's like a tunnel!


The center section is open to the outside.  I imagined hiding out inside the tree
during a storm and being able to watch through it's big window...


There's a hole in the center of the ceiling that acts like a skylight...
or a frame for a picture of a nearby redwood...


The other end was enclosed all the way around.  Look how tall the "ceiling" is...


That's me walking through...


This is the other end...


Another thing to see in Grant Grove is the Centenial Stump sign. 
It's an interesting story.  You can click the photo to enlarge and read it...


In Sequoia National Park, we ran across this...


Here it is looking toward the top of the tree. 
It's like a road.  That's our Yukon parked next to it...


This is the root end with my daughter and husband sitting down and checking it out...


There's also "Tunnel Log" in Sequoia. 


There was a fairly constant stream of people driving up, stopping to look, and taking pictures of their cars (and motorcycles) as they'd drive through the tunnel.  We probably could have fit our Yukon through but didn't want to chance it.  So, here's a picture of another car...


At the Sherman Grove in Sequoia there's a patio/overlook with a brick section in the size and shape of the General Sherman tree.  It's interesting to walk across it and get a better idea of how thick some of these redwoods are...


There are several slices of Giant Sequoias scattered throughout the park.  Here, my daughter and I are leaning against one and trying to stretch our arms across...


Yes...we're tree huggers!


Giant Sequoias aren't the only amazing trees in the park.  
Another is the Sugar Pine that grows enormous pinecones
like the one my hubby is holding...


Some parts of the forest have a lush green carpet of fern, flowers and moss.


So pretty!


The ferny trails were so different than what I'm used to and fun to walk along.


We learned on this trip that the big redwood trees in Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and even Yosemite are different from the giant redwood trees we've seen along the California coast.  They're called "Coastal Redwoods".  They grow about 60 feet taller but aren't quite as big around as Sequoia trees.  They live up to 2200 years...a 1000 years less than Sequoias. The Coastal Redwood trees only grow in a narrow band along the coast, from Central California to parts of Oregon. I think the only place Sequoia trees can be found is on the western side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  Pretty interesting. They're both incredible and amazing wonders to see. 

I still have more to post from our trip.  I hope you'll come back for another visit.  :-)

4 comments:

Roxie said...

I am loving this trip. What wonderful things you saw.And how interesting you make them.

jomomma said...

I'm so envious! I've always wanted to see the Sequoias.

KarenB said...

You took some great pictures, Cheryl! What a trip.

Jodi said...

Absolutely enjoyed this blog and all the wonderful pictures! I'm a huge pine cone lover. Couldn't believe the huge size of the one your hubby was holding. Awesome stuff. :)