Sunday, November 18, 2007

Half Empty Takes Half a Hike

[Practically nothing happened on Day One so . . .]


One thing that you can do when you are tired of the flatlands of California is take a road trip to the Sierra Nevada. That’s what Spanky and Melissa decided to do this morning and the daughter and I were up for it.

Spanky said, “Now I’ll understand it if you say no, but I’d like it if you didn’t say no to this question.”

Me: “Um . . . er . . .OK, what?”

We’d like to drive up into the mountains today, is that alright with you?

“You think I’d say no to that?”

So we piled into the semi-sensible SUV and headed up to Kings Canyon National Park. Melissa handled the mountain curves expertly and if she didn’t notice my white knuckles as I was clutching the side door hand brace, she was polite enough not to make mention of the fact of my alarm.

Make no mistake, as a Cali native I know my way around mountain roads, but since migrating to Texas, the closest thing I have come to a steep curvy mountain road has been the parking structure ramp at Bush International.

After climbing to 7000 feet we came to the General Sherman Grove. The grove refers to a close association of trees of the species Sequoia sempervirens. They are Sequoia trees associated with several others. The largest, and oldest was the “General Sherman Tree” named after the Yankee general that sacked Atlanta during the War of Northern Aggression (as some Texans and other southerners refer to it). Here are two shots of it. One close up and one taken a few hundred feet away in a gap between the trees. These trees cannot be captured in one horizontally taken frame. I was flat on my back taking the leftmost photo.

In perhaps a bid to repair the schism that developed between the North and the South a century and a half ago, the Park Service also singled out another giant sequoia for naming. They named it the General Robert E. Lee Tree.

Sorry, no photograph. OK. . . OK. . . OK. . . here's a link.

However I did take a photo of a small group of sequoia trees. You generally don’t see them grouped together this close. It is probable that one of these gave rise to the rest. And no, I don't know anyone standing in the photo. They just wouldn't get out of the way.

Then we drove to Hume Lake. Hume Lake sits on the border between King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. There’s a nice little path around the lake to take a nice little hike.
Over at the other end you can see the dam that makes Hume Lake.

Then, on the way back to the SUV we happened across a pair of white tailed deer. Now taking photos of deer in the brush are as hard as H-E-double hockey sticks because, guess what, they have protective coloration. But I caught one as it darted across a sunlit area and you can see the deer clearly.

In the end, though, this particular deer made its opinion of our invasion of its privacy known and did in the woods what bears are most famous for doing, also.

Then, as a grand finale, we thought we would try for Cedar Grove. A particularly picturesque grove at the bottom of Kings Canyon. No go, road closed. We went anyway to view the massive disaster that befell the closing of the road. I envisioned massive boulders covering a broken road, perhaps with half a school bus sticking out on one side of the debris.

Ay me, not to be.

It seems they close the road at this time every year.

They close it because they don’t want to keep it open with snow clearing equipment. The snow that you see in the photo. Yes, THAT snow. That’s right, I don’t want to repeat it.

Oh yes I do: your government inaction.


geri said...

There is something truly inspiring about the perspective one gets from the top of a mountain. The glimpses from your photos are making me nostalgic for some of my old familiar...and favorite...places in California! Thanks for sharing!

muse said...

from one of your six readers . . .

The hike photos are cool!