In case you didn't know, sequoia trees are gigantic! I remember first having learned about sequoias and redwood trees as a child and thinking how cool it would be to one day see some for real, but I never really thought it would happen (you may remember my experiencing this exact same feeling with the Anne Frank house several years ago). When I discovered that Sequoia National Park was kind of, sort of along the way from Mojave National Preserve to my dad's house in Ventura, I just knew we had to stop to check it out!
I am so glad that we did. These trees are monstrous, but in the best possible way. No matter how many times I tried to photograph them, I really just can't do them justice. They are mind-blowing. I would love to go back with a whole bunch of friends to see how many of us it would take to hug and actually encircle an entire tree!
We did very little planning for this leg of our journey, which was crazy because we camped and I, at least, had never camped before. Here's what you need to know:
: If you're going any time from winter-spring, consider buying or renting chains for your tires. We were here at the beginning of April and while the website said that we didn't need chains, it was only after sitting in line to enter the park for 30 minutes, that we were told that chains were mandatory. We had to turn around and stop at 3 different places to rent the right sized chains for my car. It ended up costing a ton of extra time and about $60 and in the end, when we finally made it through the park gate, they didn't even check for them. Nor did we actually end up using them. I guess my point is: if you own them, bring them and if not, cross your fingers and hope for the beset!
: Camping in Sequoia is actually quite comfortable. This part of the journey was SB's responsibility, but he didn't come up with much, so we rolled in with a few sandwiches, some salads, fruit, and non-perishable snacks and a tent. This was all well and good, as the campsites each had: a fire pit, a grill, a picnic table, a bear locker, a parking spot, and a place for your tent. We each had a sleeping bag and since I didn't know if I'd like camping and didn't want to spend a ton of cash on a sleeping mat, I doubled up on two yoga mats and was great. SB had an extra sleeping to lay on, but he said he still felt the rocks on the ground beneath him. There were bathrooms with flush toilets and running water on the site, which made me a happy gal. If I had to do it again, I would have brought firewood, a cooler, and more food, but other than that, it was good.
: Pack layers. On our second day in the park, we woke up freezing (like, we had to get into the car, blast the heat and drive around for a bit to warm up), but by the time we started hiking, the layers were definitely being peeled off. Because the elevation within the park fluctuates so much, the temperatures change quickly!
: Hug the trees. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. I've posted before about the health benefits of hugging trees and these are the biggest trees in the world. If there's anything that the world needs right now, it's more hugs and if you can get some clean oxygen and positive vibes from doing it, what's there to lose?