Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 5: Meadows, Meadows and More Meadows

On Day 5 of my California pilgrimage I beat the heat by ascending to 6500 feet above msl to the forests and meadows of Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A mountain chain that wends its way through eastern California before coming to a brutal end at the Tehachapi Fault where it is translated westward and eventually becomes re-established as the Peninsular Range of Southern California.

I took a short hike around Crescent Meadow. Around it because this is a meadow where no human shoe is allowed to tread.

Here is a longitudinal shot of the western crescent cusp, taken thankfully from a cool shady spot.

Here it is again in case you doubt the veracity of my words.

My hiking partner playing hide and seek behind one of the largest sequoia trees I have ever seen that doesn’t have a Civil War general’s name attached to it.

Look up.

Arriving at the destination: Tharp’s Log. Hale Tharp was a rancher that moved his cattle up from the foothills every year between 1858 and 1890. He let his cattle feed on the grasses of Crescent Meadow while he inhabited a hollow log that he fixed up inside and out. Note the chimney.
Inside, the log is bedecked with a table, a shelf and a bed platform.

And this is a sight similar to what Tharp saw every day as he emerged from his log hut.

But in 1890 the area was declared, thankfully, a national park. They didn’t want the logging companies to come in and cut down the massive Sequoia sempervirens trees, after all.

Then when they did try to cut a few down in the 1920’s they found to their chagrin that Sequoia wood, while massive and would make many, many board-feet of lumber, made for poor building material.

In all, a curious confluence of capitalism and conservation.

1 comment:

Marsha said...


How I envy you in that beautiful place. I have never been to that part of the "Big Trees" but the pictures make me homesick. I hope you and your lovely hiking friend took in a lot of deep breaths of the aroma found in the forest.