This post is very delayed. My son and I went car camping with my wife’s family in Sequoia National Forest near the National Park during July 2011. It had been about 25 years since I had seen the park and I explored several areas I had never been to before. This trip required very little planning, except what to pack for camping, and of course what not to bring when my wife (girlfriend at the time) was unable to come due to her work. My wife’s brother, his wife and family have been camping in this area every year for around 20 years so they have it down and were happy to share their experience with us. We drove up separately and met at the Stony Creek Campgrounds. We had two adjacent camp site near the back of the campgrounds. Both were beautiful camp sites and near both the creek and the surrounding forest. We had deer in our camp nearly every night and although they regularly see bears in the area, we didn’t see any this time. Stony Creek Campgrounds is close to Sequoia National Park, but it also has Stony Creek nearby, which is a very cool place to hangout at fish, or if the conditions are right take a dip (although use caution and be aware of the risks). This picture shows the series of falls you can see after a short hike to the creek. It is hard to understand the scale of the creek or falls in these pictures without noticing the small figure near the last falls at the top of the creek.
We spent most of the day at the creek swimming and fishing. They even convinced me to take a ride/slide over the right hand falls in this picture.
I posted a video (pretty low resolution) of me sliding over this small falls on the Facebook page for this blog. Very, very cold water!
On Day two we headed to the National Park to do a walk around Crescent Meadow. This is a beautiful open meadow surrounded by Giant Sequoia.
We hiked the short loop trail, eating a picnic lunch along the trail in the big trees. This was a gorgeous place with lots of history, a fern covered forest floor, and unbelievably beautiful trees.
One of the most unique parts of the Meadow loop is the fallen Giant Sequoia that crosses the meadow and that you can walk across.
As we left Crescent Meadow we separated so they could get some more fishing in, and so my son and I could check out the Sherman tree trail and the Big Trees Trail in the Giant Forest grove of Sequoias. This is definitely a place I had been to before, but there were lots of changes since my last visit. No more parking by the General Sherman, and a terrific trail that starts at the same height as the tree and takes you all the way to the base of the tree. This system also reduces the impact of visitors on the General Sherman Giant Sequoia.
The General Sherman Tree is the largest tree (by volume) in the world. But there are also several other attractions on the this trail and on the Big Trees Loop that intersects the General Sherman trail has a collection of some of the largest trees in the world, in some interesting formations. The Senate is an impressive group of giant trees.
The President Tree is a very large gnarly old tree very close to the trail.
(Update 5 Dec 2012: Although the Huffington Post is reporting that The President Tree was recently promoted to the 2nd largest tree in the world surpassing the General Grant Tree. An article in National Geographic seems to be their source, and it has more detail. It appears that a team has done detailed measurements of The President Tree to arrive at better measurements of it size. They have applied the same technique to other trees, although it doesn’t state that this same technique has been applied to the General Grant. So it is likely that we passed the number 1 and number 2 largest trees in the world on a single walk!)
There are several very large trees near the trail. A few that are partially burnt, and always a favorite of mine is having water be part of the trail/hike.
On the way back to our Campgrounds from the Giant Forest we stopped briefly at a small park just past a bridge over Clover Creek. I got several cool pictures of the creek and the bridge, here is my favorite.
Every evening we had dinner around the campfire and shared stories and laughs. The trip was too quick and we really missed having Jenny with us. I was originally going to put this all in a single post, but the final day, on the way home we visited Buck Rock Lookout and Grants Grove after saying our goodbyes and before heading home, and as I sorted through the pictures I wanted to share it became obvious that this part of the trip deserved its own post. So I’ll finish this trip up in my next post.
Part two of this trip: Sequoia National Park (July 2011) – (Part 2 – Buck Rock Lookout and Grants Grove)