Big Trees: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

Monday, May 29, 2017

General Grant Kings Canyon

Memorial Day. Logic says stay away from National Parks, right? Because of all the people who take advantage of the holiday to swarm the entrances?

Well, we joined the horde this weekend. True, we stayed in Fresno and got to the entrance early so there was barely any line. Also, we have an annual pass. And we went to Kings Canyon and Sequoia instead of, you know, Yosemite.

Okay, so getting to Fresno on Friday evening was not fun. At one point, it took an hour to go one mile. On the plus side, we saw an elegant woman on horseback as we waited, and some children in the car ahead of us got out to stretch their legs and went free range.

En route to Fresno 1

En route to Fresno 2

En route to Fresno 3

At least the traffic going south here is in the middle of farm country -- way more fun than idling on 95 in Connecticut.

And the payoff was those glorious vistas in the parks. At the top of this post is my sketch of General Grant (the third largest tree). Sequoias are massive. Many of them had fire scars like this one.

A highlight of our trip (apart from staring in awe at those gigantic trees) was our hike to Zumwalt Meadow. We picnicked in the shade by the river and then walked/waded to a lush clearing to see North Dome:

North Dome Kings Canyon

Like Yosemite ... but you don't have to share the experience with a hundred other people.

As we drove the Generals Highway through the parks, we saw lots of evidence of past fires. The chaparral with the twiggy remains is hauntingly beautiful.

Chaparral Kings Canyon

In fact, fires are part of the circle of life there -- the sequoias rely on it to release the seeds from their cones and expose mineral-rich soil.

Exiting Sequoia National Park

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  1. Beautiful! When we there on a Memorial day weekend, it was pretty busy - we had to camp in the wild (first time). But a beautiful part of the state and I should go again. Love your drawings.