Warning... This post contains a lot of pretty amazing tree photos, so consider yourself forewarned. Also note... the photos are not amazing because of their quality, but because of their subjects!
So... if you guessed that yesterday's picture was the bark of a giant redwood tree , you were correct! When we found the first one we saw in Sequoia, nothing prepared me for their immensity and majesty - even though I was expecting to be awed.
We left LA (well, Downey, technically...) and drove north bright and early in the a.m. on July 1... sad to be leaving family and cousins, especially... but happy to be adventuring across the United States once again. The first place we planned to explore was Sequoia National Park...
Even the drive just getting to the park was phenomenally breathtaking...
We'd never seen actual hills sculpted like sand dunes before... but that is exactly what these hills looked like.
In so many ways, the landscape reminded us of the fierce, desolate beauty of Niger...
...although you'd never see trees like THAT in Niger!
Once in the park, we stopped at the visitor's center to read a bit about the ecology and the great trees we were headed up to see (and when I said up before making the trip, I had no idea how up that would be!).
Anna thought it was pretty cool to have a hummingbird share her name - we didn't see one, IRL, however. While we were in the visitor's center, we decided to get the littles something to play with while we were driving in the car. They'd already spent a lot of time riding around in vehicles throughout the month of June. We were hoping to entice complacent and cooperative behavior out of them... in other words, it was a bribe!
Mary Michelle surprised us with her choice. Instead of picking one of the cutesy critters... she liked this little bat - because he had magnets in his wings and on his bottom... she could stick him to and make him hang from any metal object she could fine.
Pretty cool, don't you agree?
After the visitor's center, we continued to climb... and we were well up over 5000 feet (i.e. one mile) before we finally saw ~
...our first redwood!
There was a museum near the different trail heads for those who wanted to understand what they were about to see prior to hiking off into the woods to see some of the more famous and spectacularly ginormous trees.
Can you tell how I had to stitch the next photo together? General Sherman was so large I couldn't get the entire tree in one picture frame! The other cool thing was that the hike down to see this beautiful tree descended the same number of feet in altitude as the tree rose in height. It was an awesome way to help give perspective as to the massiveness of this tree!
Brendan's an awesome big bro... helping m&m make the climb and experience some things we certainly wouldn't let her try on her own! And this was one of the few times we actually saw Jonathan wiped out on our trip! Mama didn't sit to rest on the way back up the mountain, so he didn't either!
We exited the park from the north... we'd hoped to have time to see some of King's Canyon National Park, but as time was running short, all we were able to do was snatch a few pictures as we drove through a corner of that place... It is on the list for must sees next time we get to take a trip that far west!
In case you were wondering, the bat turned out to be a great idea. He hung out with m&m and Anna all day long, and they even fixed him his own car seat so that he could enjoy the ride!