A Visit to Sequoia

24 Jan

Sequoia in winter is one of my favorite places.  Since I moved to California, I’ve been there four times, and only one of those times had been in summer. There are many things I’m dying to see after the snow melts… Crystal Cave and Mineral King are at the top of the list… but this time of year they won’t let you drive the treacherous roads for some reason.

Lotta Snow

Keep in mind… I’m not a short gal.  I’m 5’10” and there were a lot of places where the snow was piled higher than my head.

Luckily, when Robin came out to visit in November, she introduced me to snowshoes so my friend Rosie and I were able to ignore the enormous piles of snow and hike our hearts out.

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I’ve decided I’m in love with snowshoes.  I’ve always had a thing for traveling in the off season because I can handle bad weather much better than I can handle crowds.  Snowshoeing in one of the less-visited National Parks in California fits the bill.  Within minutes you can feel like you’re miles away from civilization.  On two hour hikes we passed fewer than three or four people.

If you go to Sequoia, you can rent snowshoes at the Wuksachi lodge, but if you’re coming from a major city in California, you can probably stop at an REI and rent the equipment without having to return it by 5:30 PM (just when you’d like to be watching the sunset this time of year). Although we stopped at the REI in Fresno on the way, this didn’t occur to me until too late.

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When most people think of Sequoia, they think of the trees. They are pretty amazing, but after the initial shock it’s difficult to grasp their massive size while you’re surrounded by them. I love looking at the pictures later because the scale is so much more apparent.

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Personally, as much as I adore the trees, I’m even more enamored with the vistas that mountains offer.

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In the valley, it was cloudy, but as we drove up the mountain we passed the cloud level. We could see an ocean of clouds with little mountain peaks standing in for islands. I’d thought I couldn’t see anything more beautiful.

And then the sun went down.

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~april

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