Frivolous Friday: Bears! Wildfire! And the Largest Tree in the World! (Part 2)
It’s Frivolous Friday!
Thought I would share some of the fun I squeezed in this week (in between all my portrait sessions and retouching work.)
Yep, this happened #1:
I made some new friends last week – the largest trees in the world!
If you missed the first part of my story (posted last week) you might want to jump over to read that first because it’s Chapter One of my story.
So Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are jaw-droppingly beautiful – everywhere you look!
They’ve been in the news lately because of the fires – but when we were there ten days ago everything was open (sorta – keep reading) and everything was beautiful!~
The hubs and I had rented a cabin for four days of relaxation, hiking and fresh air!
But as I mentioned, the air wasn’t 100% fresh because the night before we arrived lightning started three wildfires. Waaaa!
So some of the park was filled with smoke and ash….but on the positive side it left a beautiful warm glow to everything….lol
(…you know me, always looking for the bright side!)
Giant Sequoia are the largest trees in the world and 2,000 to 3,000 years old. And they are TALL (for perspective can you spot me in this pic?)
These photos were captured in the Giant Forest – and fun fact, the Rangers were blocking the road just past the forest and had already closed the museum and evacuated their employees.
When the ranger found out we just wanted to stroll through the forest he allowed us to do that because it was on the safe side of the roadblock – so we parked and took a little hike. (We were glad to have our masks with us because it was smoky and ash was flying!)
WELL: two hours after we left the Giant Forest the National Park Service closed the ENTIRE Sequoia park – so we figure we were some of the last people to see the forest before the fire surrounded it! ummm…gulp….
We’ve now been home for about a week and since then have been sadly watching the news reports…here’s a little collection of photos just to catch you up – a few are mine, most are from the National Park Service
The forest service also cleared fallen pine needles from around the Giant Trees and wrapped them with aluminum to prepare them for the wildfire. (This is a photo from the National Park Service)
Things are dangerous and sad right now for the giant trees, but they’ve had a sad history too because unfortunately THOUSANDS of Giant Sequoia’s had been cut down in the 1800’s before Congress set the land aside for preservation.
(Thanks to John Muir, Ansel Adams and others who helped Congress understand the importance of preservation!)
We learned that surprisingly, sequoia trees are very fragile and when they fall over after being chopped down, most shattered – the wood was only useable for roof shingles and garden stakes – doesn’t that just make you even MORE mad?
So ‘remains’ are all around as you hike the forests. This is called “Shattered Giant” and is on the Big Stump Trail.
The Mark Twain Stump – shows how big the trees grew….so sad!
This sweet little scene of a Baby sequoia growing in the shadow of it’s ancestors made me feel a little better….life goes on!
The smoke was pretty thick in places…and added some interest and sadness to the views….
Since we had to avoid the fire area, we regrouped and made a new plan to stay on the side of the park that was free from closures and smoke….
Each day we made a little plan of the hikes we wanted to take, we packed a picnic lunch and hit the trail — we hiked everywhere from the top of the ridge to deep in the forest!
This was from the top of Panoramic Point; we could see miles in all directions.
We also saw lots of dead trees caused by the destructive Mountain Pine Beetle….some areas of the park look like a nuclear bomb site…So sad!
And not surprising that it’s hard to stop a wildfire raging through all that dead wood…
But on a brighter note, we were so happy to have spotted a bear cub and her mama! We were in the car and I was straining my eyes as we drove looking for bears and spotted this cute pair- YAY!
We were lucky to be in the car so we had the bonus of not being worried about our safety….I only had my cell phone with me so it’s not the best, but it’s not bad – and the video is adorable.
Did you know that it was in this California wilderness where John Muir, the unofficial “father of the national parks,” was inspired to start down a lifelong path of environmental conservation?
He once called Kings Canyon “a rival to Yosemite” (and we all know how much he loved Yosemite); he likened the ancient sequoia trees to picture windows into history.
Muir succeeded in bringing Sequoia to national park status; it would become America’s second national park just after Yellowstone was created in 1890.
Sequoia National Park has the largest tree on Earth by volume stationed within its boundaries, it’s name is General Sherman.
I can’t begin to tell you how amazing these parks are – and you should GO!!!
As we left Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks we were exhausted, happy and hopeful that firefighters can save the giant trees so you can see them too!
What can I say: I’m Feeling Blessed!
And do you know what else I’m blessed by? Capturing amazing moments for you to treasure for a lifetime!
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