sequoia national park.
foggy general sherman.

with derek’s big test in the rear view mirror, we were pretty excited for the next leg of our trip, a few weeks in sequoia, kings canyon and yosemite. first up, a week in sequoia national forest, sort of in between sequoia and kings canyon, which are two separate parks, but the park service runs as one.

when we arrived at night, it was cold and foggy. like almost freezing. we settled in and made our plans for the weekend, plus a couple of days that derek had taken off. we decided to knock out general sherman and the visitor center and some other little things in the same areas on the first day. when the morning rolled around it was still foggy and cold. we quickly realized we underestimated the crowds and the parking situation. we had to park far far away from the trailhead and take a shuttle bus over. (the parks also underestimated the crowds and had to call in some extra busses to get folks to and fro). anyhoooo… it was a long, cold wait for the shuttle.

eventually we arrived at the trailhead and started the descent. the fog was thick, making it pretty hard to get a feel for the magnitude of the trees around us.

as we approached general sherman, the largest tree (by volume) in the world, we could see it through the fog in the distance.

once we were closer, it was mayhem. so many people. i won’t lie. at this point, i was getting grumbly. derek will tell you.

we waited patiently to squeeze our way to the front for some pics, even though you couldn’t even really see the top.

and then we waited longer to get a pic with the general sherman sign. poor anna wanted to take a shot with just the sign, no people, and it was never meant to be. before one group was done, the next was already stepping up. she settled for a pic with just her (on her camera).

we decided to wander out to the bus stop and find somewhere else to explore, versus continuing our hike in the grove, since we couldn’t really see anything anyways. closer to the shuttle stop, there was this pretty cool tunnel cut through a fallen tree.

we all grumbled about the graffiti. the lidkids have a low tolerance for graffiti and litter.

from there, we went to the giant forest museum. we had to hike a quick little trail from the parking lot to the museum, and there was a flicker of internet, so i was able to update all of my faithful followers (ha) and send a few texts. the museum was packed with folks trying to escape the cold and drizzle, but we suffered through, in an effort to learn about the massive sequoia trees.

we took turns spinning the sequoia seed wheel of fortune. none of us grew into adulthood. it’s a dog eat dog world for sequoia seeds.

outside the museum was another notable giant sequoia, the sentinel, so we stopped for some photos.

even thought we had barely done anything in the park at this point, the kids insisted on finishing up their junior ranger books and going to the visitor center to get their badges. so, that’s what we did. i don’t mind knocking it out early, but this was a little rushed, even by lidkid standards.

before we left, we checked out the little museum at the visitor center. here’s ike checking out some magnified larval holes.

at this point, we had had enough. we were cold and tired and pretty much done dealing with the masses. so back to the camper, where we could spread out our maps and information about the park and make a detailed game plan for how to proceed for the rest of the week. oh. and some tea in my new sequoia mug.

and day one is in the books.

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