Archive for the ‘Sequoia National Park’ Tag

Snowy Sequoias   2 comments

Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 2/1/14.

Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 2/1/14.

Sequoia National Park   2 comments

SNP 01Where Is It: 225 miles north of Los Angeles; 250 miles southeast of San Francisco

The Birth: After years of struggles with entrepreneurs seeking to exploit the resources in the area, Sequoia National Park was founded in 1890 to protect the largest trees on earth. In 1916, the US Congress appropriated $50,000 for the purchase of private lands in the Giant Forest; the National Geographic Society contributed $20,000. The park has been expanded several times … most recently in 1978. That was the result of an effort led by the Sierra Club to deny the Walt Disney Corporation the land to build a ski resort. That annexation became known as Mineral King.

SNP, one of 8 National parks in California, is the oldest of the bunch.

The Park: The Sequoia National Park is adjacent to the Kings Canyon National Park, and they are operated together by the National Park Service (which was originally begun in 1944 as a wartime economy measure). Other National Park Service units that are contiguous are the Sequoia National Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The two National Parks are divided into 5 areas; 3 of them are in the SNP: Giant Forest, Mineral King and Foothills.

It Happened Here: In 1920, the last private holdings in Giant Forest were acquired by the Park Service. Bear Hill, the park garbage dump at Giant Forest, became a regular evening attraction and bleachers were erected for visitors to congregate and watch black bears forage through the trash.

Size: 864,411 acres

# Visitors: 1,106,584 in 2012. August has the highest attendance; December the lowest.

Plants: There are 1,530 documented plant species, including 22 deciduous & 26 evergreen tree species

Animals: SNP is the home of two endangered species: the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and the California Condor. There is also one threatened species, the Little Kern golden trout.

Choices: There are 2 entrances to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks:

Big Stump entrance, accessible on California 180 from Fresno. I prefer this entrance; from Los Angeles I exit at the 198, but then go through Dinuba to get to the 180 and go up the mountain.

Ash Mountain entrance, Accessible on California 198 from Visalia. This entrance enters the Park at a lower elevation, and has a very twisty turny road to get to SNP.

Fees: $20 for each car entering the Sequoia/Kings Canyon area.

Staying There: There are multiple hotels between the entrances of the Parks, which are largely on non-park owned property. They are easily accessible, here. Campsites are available in multiple locations; fees are currently $18 daily for single campsites and $35 daily for group sites. Running water is available near most sites; flush toilets are available as well.

Contact Info:

By Mail:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9700

By Phone:
For 24-hour recorded information.
Speak with park staff from 8:15 a.m.-4:15 p.m., weekdays only.

Current Issues: SNP has the worst air pollution of any National Park. That is causing problems for pine and sequoia trees, as they cope with air the same quality as in Los Angeles. This year, a drought has resulted in the closure of several campgrounds, though the park is still open and continues to see high visitation.

Don’t Miss This: There are so many things you must see!

  • General Sherman Tree, the largest living thing on earth
  • Moro Rock, a granite dome with a 1/4 mile, 300′ elevation gain staircase to the top
  • Congress Trail, taking you by some of the most spectacular sequoia groves in the park
  • Crystal Cave, a cave tour that is so popular you must buy advance tickets at the Lodgepole or Foothills Visitor’s Centers.


The Congress Trail

National Park Service: Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP

NationalParks[AndMore]: Sequioia National Park (In Winter)

San Francisco Chronicle: Air Pollution

One Cool Thing Every Weekend: Tokopah Falls Hike In SNP

The Congress Trail   1 comment

The highlight of visiting the Sequoia National Park is seeing the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman tree, and then continuing on to hike the Congress Trail.

This is an easy, paved loop. It’s a 2 mile stroll through some of the world’s largest sequoia groves. The scenery is spectacular.

Come, take a walk with me.

Grant Tree Trail   3 comments

This 1/3 mile, paved loop trail takes you by the General Grant Tree and a picturesque grove of sequoias.

The General Grant tree is a spectacular 267′ tall: the third tallest tree on earth. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the General Grant tree:

The tree was named in 1867 after Ulysses S Grant, Union Army general and the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed it the “Nation’s Christmas Tree” on April 28, 1926. Due in large part to its huge base, the General Grant tree was thought to be the largest tree in the world prior to 1931, when the first precise measurements indicated that the General Sherman was slightly larger. On March 29, 1956, President Dwight D Eisenhower declared the tree a “National Shrine”, a memorial to those who died in war. It is the only living object to be so declared.

In 2005 the General Grant moved up one place in the giant sequoia size rankings, when the Washington tree lost the hollow upper half of its trunk after a fire. Once thought to be well over 2,000 years old, recent estimates suggest the General Grant tree is closer to 1,650 years old. In 2012, it was determined that the General Grant was the third largest tree in the world, behind the General Sherman and President.

Dead Giant Loop   4 comments

Here’s one of the easier hikes in the Sequoia National Park. Go past the Grant tree parking lot and take the Sunset Trail to the sign for this easy loop hike.

Posted July 28, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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Sunset Trail   4 comments

Go to the end of the parking lot for the Grant tree … and you’re on the Sunset Trail. It’s an easy downhill hike … and an easy return uphill!

Posted July 27, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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Round Meadow   4 comments

On the way up the road to Panoramic Point in the Sequoia National Park, you drive by Round Meadow. It’s worth a stop!

Posted July 26, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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Panoramic Point   4 comments

Panoramic Point overlooks Hume Lake in the Sequoia National Park.

Continue past Grant’s Grove, and then turn right towards the Crystal Springs campsite. Don’t turn into the campsite, just continue on the road up the mountain. Park at the small parking lot at the top of the mountain, and then you have a 350′ paved trail (which was being upgraded to an all access trail while I was there) to get to Panoramic Point.

Wish the day was not so hazy!


Posted July 22, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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Beware The Mini-Bears   3 comments

Little Girl had been after me for years to go camping again. It used to be our annual tradition to go to the Sequoia National Park every Memorial Day weekend. We lost the tradition as the kids got older & busier … and now, we hadn’t been camping as a family in far too many years.

A plan was born.

MrsMowry fell out because of her fabulous new job. That was sad because she had never been camping with the family, but work has to come first at least occasionally, right? MrsMowry & her husband will go camping next time.

The rest of the family – including Payton – would go camping over the July 4th weekend. I would go to the Sequoia National Park early to secure a good spot to camp during this holiday weekend. That meant I would get 2 days of solitude with the big trees before the family showed up.

Perhaps you missed that: 2 days of solitude.

What a fabulous thing. I. Could. Not. Wait.

I drove up on Monday and found the campsite in Crystal Springs, right next to Grant’s Grove. Elevation: 6,500′. Distance to the nearest sequoia: 120′. Distance to the nearest human that first night: unknown, as I couldn’t see their tent from my campsite.


I set up my tent, bedding and Velda’s kitchen with 3-burner stove. I stowed all of the food in the bear box quickly … the boys & I had learned how important that was when we visited Philmont a few years ago. There, you learn that bears WILL eat any smellable thing they can find that’s not in a proper bear-proof container. We also learned that mini-bears (AKA ground squirrels) were actually far more common and not at all cute after they got into your food stash. Beware the mini-bears.

No problem; everything went into the bear box.

Bear Box

Critters without fine motor skills and no ability to use a tool can’t open this box of goodies.

Dinner turned out to be a bit of a challenge, because I made a huge mistake. I’ve trained Scouts. I’ve trained my family. And I failed … to pack my own gear. We had a busy weekend leading up to my Monday morning departure, and Velda packed my food and the kitchen supplies. When we packed my car, I grabbed the containers with everything that I “needed” for my 2 days alone, and then grabbed more of the group’s supplies so they wouldn’t have as much to bring north.

Monday night’s dinner, I decided would be soup. I had a nice can of chowder to open … and no pot to cook it in. I made do, and heated the soup in the can on the stove. It didn’t work very well, as you might have guessed, but I had warm soup and I did not starve. And, oh my, the stars that night in my cold camp. Lovely.

(Side note: I found that Velda had snuck in a can of barley soup, which must be an attempt at humor on her part. I haven’t eaten barley without comment since the great barley soup pot of ’97 became a legend in her kitchen. But she still tries to sneak that stuff into my diet. You’ve got to watch her every minute, apparently.)

Tuesday morning dawned, and I took a wonderful hike. Didn’t see a human on the trek. Lovely pictures to follow.

I got back to camp and found that I had some international neighbors across the road (it fascinates me what an international experience it is when visiting our national parks). A German family with 2 teenaged boys were my new neighbors. I didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother me … and we had a quiet afternoon in camp. All good.

Dinner time, I decided, would be a peanut butter sandwich (when I’m cooking in camp, it is a decidedly gourmet selection, you see). I got the bread and peanut butter out of the bear box, and then returned to get the cooler out and pour myself a Diet Coke. Life was good. I was about 15′ away from my picnic table, pouring my soda.

The next thing I knew, there was a smiling AGY (Annoying German Youth) pointing his cellphone behind the bear box … where a raccoon was eating my bread. The AGY apparently thought it more important to capture the moment for posterity than it was to yell, “Hey, Stupid Guy!  That Mini-Bear is eating your food!”

Once I figured out that I was being burgled, I yelled at the ‘coon and ran to get my bread.

At which point I learned that a raccoon carries a package of bread in his mouth and runs faster than I do.

And then my shorts fell down.

Chase over.

My dinner became peanut butter bagels. See, I didn’t starve.

AGY followed the critter at a leisurely pace about 100’ up the hill, watched him eat the bread and scurry away. The AGY then returned the torn, empty bread wrapper to me.

Thoughtful AGY, that one. I’m sure he put my mini-bear adventure on YouTube. Let me know if you find it, and I’ll send the AGY my, uh, regards.

Bread Wrapper

The mini-bear got 4 pieces of bread. I got outsmarted by a quadriped.