Giants In the Mist

 Posted by at 12:27 am  Nick's Blog
May 242011

We left the Park of the Sierras about 9 a.m. yesterday morning and drove about 95 miles southeast to Sequoia National Park. Well, actually, Greg drove, because he likes to drive, and I like to sit back and enjoy the ride. Well, I like to enjoy the ride, and nag him about his driving habits. Not that Greg is a bad driver. Actually, he’s an excellent driver, but I just like to pull his chain every chance I get. 🙂

We passed a lot of truck farms and orchards along the way, and as we started climbing from about 400 feet in elevation in Fresno, to over 7500 feet in Sequoia National Park, Terry got some nice pictures of the orchards from above.

Orchards from above

Unfortunately, while we had bright sunshine down in the low country, as we climbed higher, we started encountering fog that gave the trees and boulders a surreal look.

Misty trees boulders 2

Before long we hit what can only be described as pea soup fog. This is the view through the windshield. The good news is that I didn’t snivel about the winding mountain road and the steep mountainsides below us, because I couldn’t see anything!

Winsdhield view

Occasionally, the fog lifted a bit, and we could see a lot of snow alongside the road. A lot of snow! Like many feet deep. But Greg and Jan said it was nothing compared to their visit here last year.

Snowey creek

Pretty soon, we started seeing giants in the mist. The sequoia trees here are so big that photos don’t do them justice. Some are as tall as a 26-story building, and their diameters at the base exceed the width of many city streets. That’s a lot of tree! While the exact age of the trees is not known, some of the oldest in the park are estimated to be between 1800 and 2700 years old. 

Big Sequoia

Giants in the mist 2

The fog cleared up about the time we got to the parking lot of the General Sherman, a monster tree standing over 274 feet high, with a circumference of 102 feet. Visitors walk about .4 of a mile down a very steep, paved path to the tree. But it was worth it to see the huge tree.

General Sherman 2

The climb back up was a real torture test for a fat guy like me. There are benches to rest on, and I used every one of them. Here are Jan and I on the climb back up to the parking lot. Don’t we look happy?

General Sherman trail

Jan Nick pantng

Back in the truck, we drove a short distance down the highway and saw the handicapped parking area for the General Sherman, so close you could almost reach out and touch the forest monarch! I told Greg we could make a good living just shuttling people from the tree back up the hill to their cars, so they didn’t have to make the climb!

One of the rangers had told us that bears are very active this time of year, and sure enough, a mile or so down the road I spotted this one on a hill right alongside the road. Unfortunately, the fog had closed back in, and we couldn’t get a good picture.

Bear cropped

Kings Canyon National Park is right next door to Sequoia, and you drive out of one and into the other. The sky had turned blue by the time we got there, and after a stop for lunch, we drove the short distance to the General Grant parking area. The path to this tree was much easier, less than 1/4 mile, and mostly level.

Along the way, we passed the Fallen Monarch, a huge sequoia that has been laying here well over a hundred years. The tree is hollow, and people can walk its length. Over the years, the tree has served as a home, saloon, and a stable for U.S. Cavalry horses!

Fallen Monarch end 3

Nick Fallen Monarch

The General Grant is known as The Nation’s Christmas Tree, and stands 268 feet tall, with a circumference of 107 feet.

General Grant 2

General grant base sign

The bases of these huge trees are unbelievable. Some are hollowed out by fire and nature, but they still hold up their massive weight. Some almost look like they could get up and walk!

Tennessee tree base

Big Sequoia base

It is just amazing to stand among these ancient old trees, and you can get a stiff neck just looking up at them all day long!

Big Sequoia 3

Big Sequoia parking lot

Tall Tree

As we were leaving the park, I spotted three deer grazing in a meadow, and Greg stopped so Terry could take a couple of pictures.


We arrived back at the campground about 7:30 p.m., wiped out by our long day of sightseeing, but we made some memories we will never forget.

I logged onto Amazon to check the stats of my mystery novel, and discovered that we sold over 50 books for the day. Thanks everybody for your support, and for all of the good feedback you have sent me, and especially for the positive reviews you have left on Amazon!

Today will be a day to rest, catch up on the paperwork that seems to multiply faster than fleas on a hound dog, and I need to start working on the next issue of the Gypsy Journal. The fun never stops around here!

Thought For The Day – Everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “Giants In the Mist”

  1. Beautiful pictures of those magnificent trees. You were closer to a bear than I would have liked. Terry is an awesome photographer. take care and be safe.

  2. I keep forgetting that even though I have a Nook, I can get Kindle books for my iPad. So I’m now looking forward to reading Big Lake! Glad you’re enjoying Sequoia and King’s Canyon.

  3. You are really making me want to see those trees! The bear, I can do without though seeing one in the wild would be exciting. As long as I was in the truck! Otherwise I think terrifying would be the word. Nice photos though.

  4. Hey Nick!
    You’re about in my area – San Francisco (Alameda to be exact). I’m here for a year on job assignment and never thought I’d be this close to a web star! 🙂 I enjoy reading your blog every day while between work moments. Thanks for reminding us how important it is to ‘stroll down life’s path’ before we run out of path!!!

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