Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sequoia National Park, Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wow!  What a full day.  We drove south to Sequoia National Park.  Thursday we had gone to King's Canyon National Park which is north of Sequoia.  Going into the northern gate of Sequoia is also the entrance gate for King's Canyon- go left from the gate to King's Canyon and right to Sequoia.  So today we went left into Sequoia.  The road through the park is called the Generals Highway which we assume is for the Sequoia trees- General Grant in King's Canyon and General Sherman in Sequoia.  The sequoia trees were present in the forested area as we drove along the park highway.  We stopped at a picnic area to have lunch along the Kaweah Creek.  Stellar jays were flitting from tree to tree- they are really beautiful birds.  After lunch we continued a short distance to the Lodgepole Visitor's Center and Village.  In the Visitor's Center, there were small areas that short films could be viewed- one on controlled forest burning, one on preserving the sequoias and a longer film on bears that we did not watch.  We walked to the Market in this village area where Earth Day was being celebrated.  Carrot cake and bottle water were being given out along with packs of snack foods.

Leaving the village, we continued on down the road to the General Sherman tree, in the Giant Forest.  There was a half mile walk to the tree downhill from the parking lot which meant a half mile walk up hill to return to the parking lot.  The Sherman tree is the world's largest tree (General Grant tree is has the biggest circumference).  What makes the Sherman the largest is that the trunk is conical shaped giving it the greatest volume of total wood.  There were many large sequoias in this area.  Sequoias growing close together can grow together and there were trees in this area that had grown together.  Sequoias grow naturally on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada at 5000 to 7000 feet elevation and can live 3000 years plus.

Continuing our travels south through the remainder of the park put Tom to the test at driving through steep, narrow and extremely winding roads.  As we left the park behind we came to Lake Kaweah where there was boating activity today.  Continuing on we past through miles of orange groves and then we saw big grape vineyards.  Selma, Ca. is the raisin capital of the world according to a billboard and other billboards about Sun Maid raisins were displayed.

When we got to Fresno we looked for someplace to get dinner.  We found a pizza restaurant, "Ed n' Me", and had the best vegetable pizza with spinach,broccoli, tomato,artichoke hearts, onions and red sweetpeppers.  This was a great find.  Tomorrow we are moving from this area and going toward Sacramento.