Saturday, July 20, 2013

Yosemite: Day 4

 We decided to go out with a bang on our last day in Yosemite, and headed down to the Mariposa Grove to check out the sequoias.  I'd never seen a sequoia before, so this was definitely something to cross off my bucket list.

London, however, remained unimpressed.  She fell asleep about five minutes into our hike, so I guess giant, ancient forests just don't do it for her.  Or maybe we'd just finally managed to wear her out!  We ended up taking her out of the backpack, because there is no way she was comfortable with her head bobbing around up there.

There are so many fallen trunks that have been there for at least a century--the compound in sequoias that gives the red coloring to their bark also makes them impenetrable to rot.  Seeing them laid out on the ground like this really helps you to see just how great their girth is, which to me was the most impressive thing about them.  And the trunks seemed to go on and on across the forest floor for a mile.

Another cool thing was all the scorch marks on the trunks.  The contrast between the red and the black was striking.  Sequoias actually need fire for their seeds to germinate, so fires happen quite often (and are controlled--and sometimes even started by the park rangers).  Older trees have seen many fires and have some impressive battle wounds.  I never got tired of seeing the charred trunks--I probably took a million pictures of just the black on red.

 Sequoias growing near each other will start to grow into each other to share resources.  This is the only example of that we saw, but there is a much more impressive and famous one further up the path that we didn't quite make it too.  But still kind of cool that they do that.

Cute shot of Grandpa Snow helping Grandma Snow up the path.  :)

My favorite tree was the Grizzly Giant.  It wasn't as tall as some of the other trees, but to me, it was simply awe-inspiring.  For real, I think I walked up towards it with my jaw literally dropped for at least a minute.  It was huge.  It looked prehistoric; its branches were spread out into a giant canopy, gnarled and twisted.  It had some char marks around a gaping cavity in the base of its trunk.  I was ready for a pterodactyl to come swooping down from the top.  It was unreal, like something out of Lord of the Rings.  Favorite moment of the day.

The last stop on our hike before we turned around was a tunnel tree.  They cut a tunnel through the (still-growing) trunk for tourism promotion purposes decades ago.  One really cool thing is the tree is still trying to heal itself from the wound--when you look up at the top of the tunnel inside the tree, you can see spots with sap dripping where the tree is still trying to seal itself back up.  Obviously this was the best place to block up traffic and take a GIANT FAMILY PHOTO!! ;)

And here is my father-in-laws masterpiece from our return hike.  Hopefully no rangers see this and yell at us/send us a fine.  You're not supposed to walk off the path, because sequoias have shallow root systems and walking on them can do them harm.  But Dave had to get this shot--and ya gotta admit, it is pretty cool. 

That about sums up our trip.  London did much better on the way home--she only barfed four times instead of ten!  Thanks to everyone for your comments, messages, e-mails, and likes on facebook.  I had so much fun sharing this and reading all the responses!  Before I wrap up all the Yosemite fun, I wanted to share these photos Dan's great-uncle Fred e-mailed us after reading about Half-Dome.  These photos are scans from slides he had from their trip to Yosemite in 1955!

Aren't those the coolest?!  I've been gushing over them to Dan since Uncle Fred sent them to us, and I'm so glad he said I could share them on the blog.  Thanks for reading, everyone!!


Chris and Paige Evans said...

I can't believe you've been going on all these hikes in your pregnant state - you're awesome!

Those trees are ginormous! Holy cow!

robertandsharon said...

Those were great pictures and I really enjoyed the 1950s shots...the clothes they were wearing were awesome...memories of my teen-age years. ;D

{Katie & Taylor} said...

Love your Yosemite posts! It was so good to see you guys and cute London! I may steal the picture of Grandma and Grandpa, it is so tender! Hope that's okay :)