Friday, November 30, 2012

Moro rock

This distinctive bald chunk of mountain is Moro rock in Sequoia National Park.  Let's go!

Here is a view of it as we climbed up the switchback road, on August 28.  The road was under construction, and cars could only pass through the construction zone once an hour, so here we are in the string of cars passing through.

Here's the trail heading up the back of the rock.  Good thing it's got that railing in most places- it's a steep and scary trail!

Looking to the northeast from the trail:

Looking to the south from another spot of the trail, it wound back and forth going up the rock.  Here you can see the road we just drove up.

See, this rock is pretty steep in most places!  The trail has been carved and built into it, probably back in more destructive times in park history.

Up up up... it was pretty darn cool.  There were lots of people climbing, even though they're not in many of my photos.  There was lots of complaining from people along the trail - it's very popular, and I think a lot of people on it aren't really hikers.  Even little short-legged purse dogs were gamely shooting up the stairs.

The top!  It's got a railing around it, which is a good thing.

Proof I was there:

Ed took these two photo panoramas from the summit:

Fun!  Next stop is Crystal Cave, which we visited the next day, so don't go far...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Giant Sequoias

On August 28 we drove up the switchback road into the main part of Sequoia National Park, to see the big trees.

Here is one of the first spots we stopped- this is "Auto log", a tree that fell in 1917.  In the early days of car travel into the park, this was a log that cars would drive onto to take pictures on.

Here's Ed sitting in it's roots:

One of the first groves of trees we came to.  That's itty-bitty me in the purple shirt at the lower right:

The road goes through a fallen tree in one place:

This is Crescent meadow, we hiked around here.

Me at the base of another giant sequoia:

This is Tharp's log.  He was a guy that used to graze livestock in the park during the summer, around the time the land was first made into a park.  He would spend the summers in this fallen log that he turned into a cabin.

Here's the interior of Tharp's log, showing his table, and bed frame towards the rear:

Me again, crouching in the base of a giant sequoia.  There's no lack of headroom inside, I'm just crouching for the camera:

I was taking a photo of Ed standing in the entrance of a Sequoia, and told him to back up and get right inside for a better photo.  He did, and then suddenly disappeared and I heard a "thunk".  He'd fallen around 4 feet right into the tree, he hadn't noticed that the ground dropped away.  This one looks like it was hollowed out by fire, as so many are.  Giant Sequoias usually survive forest fires once they get to a certain size.

Just before sundown we went to see the General Sherman tree, which is the largest living thing on earth.  They use this little stone patio along the trail to the tree to demonstrate the huge footprint it takes up:

... and here is the General himself, or the base of him, anyway:

Here are a couple of panorama shots Ed put together from this day to show the immense size of the trees.  They are so big that you certainly can't get a whole one in one photo frame:

Coming up next, a hike up Moro Rock, so don't go away...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hospital rock and mountain creek pools

Heading up into the park (August 28), we stopped at Hospital rock to see the petroglyphs, and to do a short hike along a mountain creek.

The petroglyphs are on a part of the rock where a big chunk has cleaved off, leaving a flat surface:

This shows where it cleaved, off to the left.  It's a really big rock, you can walk into that open area underneath it:

This was the site of another acorn-grinding area for a village, those pits in the rock (which is beside Hospital rock) are where they did the grinding.

Hospital rock got that name in the late 1800's when an injured person was tended to there while they waited to transport him.

After seeing the rock, we hiked along a mountain stream and saw some natural pools along the way:

Along this trail, we saw some trees with really interesting red bark:

Just another spectacular mountain view from near the trailhead:

Next, we're going to drive up the switchback road that takes us into the Sequoia forest...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mineral King hike

On the first full day at Sequoia National Park (August 27), we decided to go up a less travelled road and do some hiking in the Mineral King area of the park.

It was worth the drive, but what a drive it was - skinny, twisty road, with deathly dropoffs, and the occasional SUV speeding too fast towards us around a corner.  We survived, and it was spectacular up there.

This is a meadow at the top of the trail (photos seem to be in reverse order, that's OK as it was an in-and-back hike along the same trail, we'll just do it backwards...)

Ed took this amazing photo of a deer running towards us.  Lotsa deer up there!  They were everywhere.  We'd point them out to other hikers and they'd roll their eyes ... fine, we're city hicks, we get it.

The meadow had some twisted old fallen trees scattered over it:

The trail followed a valley, and looking across to the other side you could see this waterfall.  This is with a zoom lens:

We also did a shorter hike to look at a little waterfall at the site of an old mine:

This is me at the mine entrance.  I forget already what mineral they were after here:

Looking into the mine:

While we were there, a bird of prey (I think one of Ed's friends said it was a red-tailed hawk?) came and landed at my guidebook, which I had put on a rock while I walked the last few feet to look at the mine entrance:

He was kind of intimidating!  I wasn't sure if he'd attack me if I went after the guidebook, and he didn't seem in a hurry to move.  In the end Ed reached over and got it, he has the longer arms.

A couple more mountain photos- it is so beautiful up there:

We crossed this bridge there and back on the drive - I'm standing on it towards the left:

A little waterfall along the side of the road on the way there:

We saw our first giant Sequoia tree along this road:

And that was it for Mineral King!  Next stop, heading up into the main part of the park to see the big trees....