Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Jocelyn Murray August 9, 2015 No Comments

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General Grant Tree is the second largest tree in the world after General Sherman

It has been said that to contemplate the majesty of nature is to contemplate God. After all, one glimpses the artist within his creation.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are no exception.

The mixed-conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada include a diverse array of ponderosa pine, sugar pine, incense-cedar, white fir and groves of giant sequoia for which this national park is named. The giant sequoia trees soar above the ground like towering sentinels. Standing next to them is truly a humbling experience in the most wonderful way. Somehow everything seems to fall into its proper perspective when pondering their tremendous heights.

A walk through the forest almost feels like I have stepped into a fairytale. I half expect to see fanciful creatures hopping along the forest floor, friendly elves and gnomes darting about, or even a giant stepping out from behind the tree trunks.

Many of the trunks are so thick, they are wider than most city streets. The largest of the sequoias are as tall as an average 26-story building. These old-growth coniferous forests are unique in the world, and they are located right in California. Many date back to well over 1,000 years. That’s a very long time.

The giant sequoias soar into the sky

I reach out a tentative hand to touch one of the trunks, running the tips of my fingers lightly over its rough surface while pondering its beauty. The air is so thick with the fragrance of the trees I cannot help feeling a little light-headed and euphoric. Then the voices of strangers remind me that I am not alone.

But the spell is not broken.

It lingers in the air like an intoxicating mist and sets my imagination soaring once again as I explore my way through the trees.

 

General Sherman Tree & General Grant Tree

General Sherman is the largest living tree in the world

The General Sherman Tree and the General Grant Tree are the largest trees in the world. Their ages have been estimated to be between 1,800 and 2,700 years old. Imagine the civilizations they have witnessed rise and fall, the environmental changes around them, and generations of onlookers coming to pay their respects to these giants of nature.

If only they could talk, what stories would they tell?

The size and longevity of sequoias are due to their fast growth over their long lives, and their resistance to fires, disease and pests. They almost seem invincible, but they are not. Their shallow root system makes them vulnerable to toppling which is the main cause of death among mature sequoias.

 

Location & Hours

The parks are located east of Fresno, California in the southern Sierra Nevada. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, weather permitting. July and August are their busiest times of year. It is best to plan ahead if staying in a campsite especially during summer weekends and holidays.

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avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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