This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with SDSU's Aztec Adventures for my outdoor recreation leadership class. I had been to Sequoia before, but it was probably about 10 or 12 years ago, so I vaguely remember what glorious sights I was about to re-encounter.
We arrived at the Lodgepole Campgrounds, our home for the next 3 days, late in the evening. Our leaders gave us the "bear talk" and we marched our supplies to the site, set up camp, and got the fire going. Wake up time was 7am the next morning, so I was keeping my fingers crossed that a good night's sleep was in my future. Definitely did NOT happen. But I can't complain. Something about waking up in the middle of the forest, trees towering over you, listening to the quiet sounds of the birds and the nearby creek, make you forget that your neck is a little kinked and you might have frostbite in your fingers.
I'm not going to go into complete detail of our day by day itinerary, but I will go ahead and say there is something magical about hiking a mile and a half, up 400 stairs, with a 300 ft incline, to reach the top of Moro Rock. Realizing the complete beauty of our surroundings at the top, staring down into the valley of trees, made the struggle of the hike that much more meaningful.
The main attraction of Sequoia National Park are the Sequoia trees. These red giants tower over all other trees and seem as if they are so big around they would take up multiple lanes of traffic on a freeway. Sequoia is home of the largest tree (by volume), the General Sherman. This tree is estimated to be about 2,300 to 2,700 years old, stand 275 ft tall, and have a volume of about 52,500 cubic feet. Standing at the base of this tree and looking up really reminds you how small you are in the world.
I hope you will one day be able to experience Sequoia National Park. If you can't make it through a 9 hour car drive, there is a plethora of state parks and scenic getaways within our San Diego County borders (more to come on that!). Take in fresh air, break out of your shell, and challenge yourself.