Sequoia National Park

Anna and her sons tell of what they enjoyed most in Sequoia National Park.

Sequoia National Park
Sequoia trees

Anna, the mom

Sequoia National Park is an American National Park in the Southern Sierra Nevada, California. Apart from the beautiful trails that open up to spectacular views of the Sierra Mountains, Sequoia National Park is famous for being the home to the biggest (by volume) trees in the world, the sequoias.

I love hugging sequoia trees. 

We visited the park at the beginning of May, when spring was still in full swing, showing off with carpets of flowers and glistening snow-capped Sierras in the distance. Not many tourists were visiting the park at this time of the year, so all in all, it was a good time for us to go there.

Flowers and snow on the mountains. 

My favorite time in the park was when we walked through the Giant Forest where the most massive tree in the world, the General Sherman sequoia, lives.

Walking into the Giant Forest and any forest, at that, brings back bitter-sweet memories that are a part of the person I am today.

I really impressed my hard to impress kids when I found this bark, and I got Anna Oakenshield as a nickname for the day. :D

I grew up in the communist Romania in an apartment building that was not far from a forest. My father knew all the edible mushrooms, so he would take me and my siblings to the neighboring forest to pick mushrooms or wild forest berries like wild strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. There wasn't much food to buy in the stores in the communist age Romania, so God gave us this forest filled with healthy and delicious treats.

A few years ago, my father took my kids to our old forest, and they found some walnuts there. 

As a child, I didn't care so much for the forest, as we would go there very often. My father would come from work and take us to the forest, even though, at times, we would have preferred to stay home and play hide and seek with the kids on the block. Later in life, though, I understood my father's love for the forest, the escape it provided. To him, walking unhindered for miles and miles meant freedom, away from the ugly, gray apartment buildings, away from the man made reality of the city.  

A fallen sequoia

When we stepped into the shade of the trees accompanied by the chirping of the birds and the stories told by the wind in the rustling of the leaves, it felt like we stepped through a portal into another reality. It was a happier reality, a place where we would clear our minds of the noise, the odor, the misery of the world of men and fill our hearts with the peace and joy that the Creator put into the fabric of nature when He created it.

Crescent Meadow, towards the Eagle Rock trail. There was a bit of snow on the ground in the shade. 

So, as I was saying, every time I walk into a forest, bitter-sweet memories flood me. It feels like I am going back in time to the wide-eyed little me who, forgetting why she was pouting for three minutes ago, was now exploring in awe this enchanting realm she was transported to while following the path through the trees.

My youngest climbing on the base of a sequoia

Walking into the Giant Forest resembles in a way my previous experiences with forests; it feels like I become a little human being again among those humongous trees. When I was little, I would see the trees in our old forest as being very tall, very mysterious. Now, as an adult, I do not have the same perception of those trees being very tall, on the contrary. But in the Giant Forest, the trees become giants again, soft, fuzzy giants, and I am but this puny, little person making my way among them.

People waiting in line to take a photo, next to the General Sherman, the most massive (in volume) tree in the world. 

As we walked among the giant trees, we hugged them, feeling and smelling their warm, fuzzy bark, marvelling at their small cones, gaping at their height, wishing we could climb them and look far away from the top.

Through the sequoia tunnel. 

Just before we walked through the Giant Forest, we explored the Eagle Rock Trail for a while. I don't think we got to the end of it, just to the point where we thought we could spot in the distant mountains the shape of an eagle's head.

Can you see what we saw (right in the middle of the picture)?

I enjoyed this trail very much for the beautiful, stunning views of the Sierras that can be seen from it. At the beginning of the trail, we strayed from the well trodden path that went through the forest and went up to the edge of the forest where we could spot an opening. It was a bit strenuous to walk up the hill, but we were rewarded by the views of the snow caps in the distance and Moro Rock in the opposite direction.

Moro Rock, seen from Eagle Rock trail. 

Later on, from Eagle Rock, we drove to Moro Rock to see if we could climb it. We were grateful to see that we didn't have to be rock climbers to go to the top of this big mound of stone. Carved in the rock, a long trail made of stairs ascends right to the top of it.

Almost at the top.

While climbing, we learned from the information on display, that this dome shaped rock formation is becoming smaller, layers upon layers of the outer rock are exfoliating because of erosion.

Mihai, 14

Sequoia Tree National Park is a 404,064 acre national park located in Tulare County, California. This national park has been protected since 1890, making it one of the oldest.

When we visited the sequoias, we saw many interesting things, but one of the most exciting was a trail which we came upon without knowing about it. This trail called Eagle Head Trail starts in the forest next to Crescent Meadow.

Off the trail, at the edge of the forest

A fire had recently burned in the park, and the trees near the edge of a cliff nearby were gone, so we could see a clear view of the High Sierra Mountains. There, I found the biggest pine cone I have ever seen.

Next, we continued on the trail and came out of the forest and on a thin(ner) path at the edge of a cliff. Luckily, we had a wonderful view to compensate for the vertigo that might occur if you stood too close to the edge.

When we got to this point, we saw the Eagle's head, which was a gigantic rock that looked like an eagle chick with its beak open, ready to receive food from its returning parents.

Can you see the open mouth of the eagle chick?

Next, we climbed atop Moro Rock, which is an enormous block of granite sticking out of the surrounding landscape like a fell stone blister from the dim past. This enormous rock was forever a challenge to the rock-climbing adventurer who was braver (or perhaps more foolish) than the rest.

View from the top of Moro Rock.

However, in these modern times, people have decided that the public needed to be able to climb the rock, so the park management tamed this giant by cutting paths in it and placing railings strategically to prevent people from getting a free, one-way trip to the status of “not needing a grave because I collided with the ground at such high velocity that it drilled a hole deep enough to bury me in”.

When we got to the bottom of Moro Rock, we started ascending its nausea-inducing heights with all the fervor of people who have had stair-climbing training in Naples and the resolute will of those who want to take photos of the view from the top.

While climbing stairs on Moro Rock we had flashbacks of climbing stairs in old downtown Naples, Italy.

We eventually reached the top, and could see for miles, since it was a clear day. The High Sierras were visible from the top of the cliff, and we could even see Eagle Rock. Below was the winding road which took us to the base of this monolith, and we could see a spot where a boulder broke off and plummeted to the faraway ground. At this point, someone dropped a bottle cap and climbed out onto the rock face to get it. Gulp. (>_<)

Resting on Moro Rock. 

Sequoia Tree National Park is:

The massive sequoia trees standing guard over their puny redwood cousins;
The rustling of the General Sherman Tree's thick branches;
The ham-smelling burnt sequoia bark;
The spiky needles, out of proportion to their monolithic trees;
The cracked Hospital Rock, with hundreds of petroglyphs on its broken surface.

Paul, 11

Recently, we visited the Sequoia National Park. This national park holds the highest point in the USA, Mt. Whitney.

A large pine cone,

When we went to the Sequoia National Park, we saw many fascinating things, but perhaps the best one of them all was the Eagle Head Trail. This trail took about 1 hour to get to the eagle head view. The trail starts at the Crescent Meadow and slowly inclines upwards. We wanted to have a good view, so we climbed a giant rock, and admired the Sierras, some of the biggest mountain ranges in America! The hike was a bit rough, but there was shrubbery growing right near the edge so that if you had tripped, then you would have merely gotten entangled in a bush. The Eagle Head was a giant rock that resembled the head of an eagle or so we think...

The rewarding view on Eagle Rock Trail.

We also visited the biggest tree in the world, the General Sherman (insert applause). This tree weighs 1,910 tons and is one of the largest in the world. When we arrived at the tree, there was a large line waiting for a picture, so we decided that it would be a good idea to go to the other side of the tree to take a photo. We also climbed on top of one of the tree's branches that had fallen off it.

By a group of red giants.

Moro Rock! Ah, what a wonderful name, it means no worries and nightmares for the rest of your days. This giant boulder looked like a giant's baseball that had fallen from the sky. We dared climb it and were rewarded with a breathtaking view. Even though the conditions were cramped and tight, it was rewarding. Once we were on top of Moro, a bird tried to kamikaze into my head, but it barely missed.


Sequoia National Park was For Me:

Moro Rock looming above me;
The General Sherman Tree's branches swaying in the wind;
The gawping mouth of the Eagle Rock;
The pebbles flying off the edge of the cliff after I tripped, GULP;
The fresh air of the Sierras making my lungs happy.