Aug 13th: Giant Sequoias

August 14, 2007

26 miles driven, 85 photographs taken, 0 Americano Grandes drunk, 0 Starbucks City Mugs acquired (There ain’t no Starbucks in the Yosemite), injuries 1 (knee)

Accomodation: Tenaya Lodge (Second night and its still an indulgence, but an enjoyable one)

Picture: Called the Clothespin tree, this Giant Sequoia has survived several forest fires which have burt a hole through its centre. The Telescope tree just up the road has lost all its heartwood and if you stand in it you can see blue sky above you but both trees survive. You can get a sense of the size by looking at the base, the small and inconsequential figure is a 6′ 1″ teenager.

Our original intent for today was to take the bus up to Glacier Point and then fallow the Panorama walk down to the valley. Unfortunately the Hikers’ Bus was fully booked not only for today, but also for Tuesday so that plan went by the board. Instead we spent the early part of the morning in the Wawona museum which is interesting but frustrating. They have rebuilt a series of typical buildings gathered from around the area, but you can only look at them from the outside. They should really look at the St Fagans museum for an example of how to do this well. Still interesting, but the bulk of our day was spent in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

For those who don’t know, these trees, grow to around 300 feet, slightly short of the Coastal Redwoods which approach 400 but overall they are larger. Their sap is water based unlike pines so they are better able to survive fire. For unknown reasons they seem immune to insect attack. They live for thousands of years and only seem vulnerable (thanks to a shallow root system) to falling. They are older as individuals, and as a species than humankind. However none of those facts really matter when you among them. They create a presence and a sense of timelessness which is unparalleled in my experience. Huw, on the way down from the grove remarked that he now knew why Tolkein had made the Ents slow speaking.

Oh, and the injury, I don’t know how it happened but pain started to intrude to the point where I had difficulty walking. Three hours with ice packs and hopefully a good night sleep may relieve the problem, but it’s probably a good job we could not get on that Hikers’ Bus.

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Aug 14th: Leaving Yosemite (a retrospective on the valley)

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