The other main giant sequoia in Sequoia National Park is the General Sherman Tree, the largest living tree on earth by volume. In addition, there were some great sequoia ecology lessons available to show you and a trip up morro rock in a thunderstorm (bad idea).
The park itself is magnificent and very well constructed.
Enormous trees were just about everywhere
This one was particularly straight
They were equally happy on very steep hillsides as up in the meadows
Their characteristic hue
A massive tree base
These ones that grew up close together have fused into a single group tree
This was a particularly dense group
Can you see the young sequoias? how about the difference between the doug fir and the giant sequoia?
These are the leaves, or needles, of the sequoia. Coast redwoods have very similar leaves at the tops of their trees, but are radically different closer to the forest floor
The cones are also different, with sequoia cones the size of a small egg, and a redwood the size of a marble. When they dry out the seeds slip out onto the ground, hoping to find fertile soil
This giant, burned-out stump shows how to get fertile soil for these trees
After a fire, the survivors thrive in the cleared forest and seedlings take root in the cleared and nutrient rich soil
This tree was hit by another, causing a large, 6-foot burl growth and was recently singed in a controlled burn
Black bears are quite common in this part of the sierra’s, here is the only shot I got of a very cute cub walking away
The trail was terrible, they used to have parking right by the tree, but force everyone, even in the off-season, onto a very long and steep walk that starts with this lovely sign area
The general himself, from above
It isn’t the widest, or the tallest, but it grows more wood each year than any other tree, and is the most wood on a living tree (not counting those without a real trunk)
Up high it didn’t seem to have much foliage
But each branch was bigger than most trees, this one had to be at least five feet in diameter
Old, fallen limbs
This gigantic lug of a branch crushed the concrete walkway when it fell. They detoured the trail slightly around it
I should have gotten here earlier, this is morro rock, and the 300 or so steps to the top are a long haul and the thunderstorms were approaching
I thought I could get to the top, take some pics and be back down before the rain and lightning made it dangerous. The views were outrageous
The southern fork of the Kaweah river headed into the valley
I stopped half way up, it was raining, hard, and I could hear the nearby electricity crackling. Here is a view of a neighboring downpour
It was everywhere
But I made it down safely, if wet. Next up, either a brief post on a stupefying sunset or the Gem of the Sierra’s. Any preferences?