This past weekend we took a small family trip to see the big trees. By small I mean, me, the hubs, my mom, dad, father-in-law and hubby's 1st cousin (visiting from Chicago). The rest of my family was either out of town, working, hardly working, or at a theme park.
This was my second time visiting Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon, and probably the 100th time I've been camping (ok, slight exaggeration). Camping was a big part of my life growing up and it's awesome that this is something I can share with my husband. It was also the 5th anniversary of our engagement on Sunday and what better way to spend it that amongst some of the worlds largest trees :)
The weather was HOT and sometimes humid and other times cool and rainy. At night it would get cold, but not so cold that you needed a jacket; a fire was all you really needed to stay warm. I've had freezing issues before, and this trip I came extra prepared, but it was too warm sometimes to even sleep in my sleeping bag. Sequoia is bear country, so there were strict rules about what stays out and what goes in the bear box. I still haven't seen a bear (ever)...so as far as I'm concerned, they dun exist, lol.
Here are a "few" pictures from our trip. Enjoy :)
After driving for about 5 hours through the twisty turny roads...they charge you $20 bucks to enter...just saying!
Our little tent :)
In case you're wondering, the lump in my sleeping bag is my coat staying warm.
Guess which one's mine :)
Guess which chair's mine?
Our campsite was near a small creek. It was wonderful and dreadfully annoying at the same time. Wonderful because you could hear the water trickling past rocks and tree trunks and was really soothing at night, but dreadful because we got murdered by mosquitos.
Worst product ever. I wish I could say this spray helped...but it was useless. I lost count of my bug bites.
Our first mini-hike.
The pictures tell all...
My dad helping my mom down from a log she somehow managed to get herself stuck on.
Guess what? Yup, that's a smore made by yours truly.
Early morning rays of light :)
We were attempting a long hike, but it was just too hot and we were not well prepared. Usually I have a lot more stamina and am more energized to hike up the mountain side, but this time I just wanted to sit around and put my feet in the river. I think everyone was just too exhausted from a long week of work to really do anything else.
My pops :)
And I almost died when I almost stepped on this snake...
The water was sooo cold, but it felt great.
Dinner is served!
Barbeque chicken :D
Contemplating on life...
And all of a sudden it started to POUR. I kid you not when I say we were all SOAKING WET. We were completely unprepared and it was truly an adventure.
Playing with my camera's setting, I came across the "miniature" effect.
Imagine you're a little critter amongst all these big trees.
Grants Tree: Third largest tree in the world, by volume.
Even the ants at Sequoia were HUGE. God, save us all.
Yup, there it really is. The largest tree on earth (by volume), the Sherman Tree. It may not look that big in the pictures, but it was pretty huge. The circumference of the trees base was 103 feet and by volume, this tree was 52,500 cubic feet, which means that if this tree were filled with water, it would provide enough water for a bath every day for 27 years. Unfortunately, the tree's top is dead (not sure why), and so it is no longer growing upward, but instead growing outward. Therefore, it isn't the tallest tree in the world, but the largest by volume because it is getting wider each year. It is also not the oldest tree, but because it is in a prime location, it keeps growing happily. Some of the eldest trees are smaller in size, therefore their ability to get so large is dependent on their location and the amount of nutrients they can get from their surroundings.
I was actually having a very hard time breathing on my way back up the trail. I'm not sure why, but It was a weird feeling.
Heading back home we hit construction traffic. This was an interesting experience. A good 5 mile stretch of road was 1 lane and closed off for a short period of time, allowing only cars to pass through every 20-30 minutes or so. A green light told you when you could pass, but apparently, the cars heading back up north somehow missed the "memo" and went through the red light on their end, some 5 miles south. So, of course, we were deadlocked for about 20 minutes in addition to the other 20 minutes that we spent behind the light. Luckily there was no accident and the row of 10 cars that were coming up the road as we were going down were able to move enough to the side of the road to allow the 40 plus cars (including us) to pass. Either the driver in the front was a complete moron or the lights mal-functioned...either way we made it through safe and sound.
Camping is always amazing for me with each time bringing a new experience and new adventure with it. You don't really realize what you have until you're really roughing it. Even with all the ups and downs of camping, including, but not limited to, mosquito bites, relentless attacks on ones food by bees, trips to the bathroom in the dark, bats flying into your face as you're brushing your teeth (yes...just imagine my reaction), and continuous awareness of your surroundings for bears, something about being in wilderness really makes you feel good. I woke up this morning so depressed that I was back home and not waking up in a tent amongst the trees. As I was brushing my teeth in the comfort of my own home, I missed the fresh air, amazing water and cute litte bat I met hanging from the bathroom ceiling. I can't wait to go again soon :)