“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sequoia National Park is a true gem of the Sierra Nevada. Being named for the giant trees, which predominate, the park protects tens of thousands of acres of Sequoia forest as well as huge swaths of mixed forest with ponderosa and lodgepole pines as well as red fir and conifers. This magnificent park, being less than five hours from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, is the prefect place to come for a weekend of a week, a place to get away and do some hiking in the high country, to feel the moist earth and breath the fragrant, thin air.
There is nothing like the solitude of a high country meadow, where the snow has gathered atop the marshy soil to provide the perfect backdrop to the soaring mountains and hovering giant trees all around. At this time of year, the southern lighting casts the most wonderful shadows to form perfect contrasts in this stunning scenery.
The little mountain roads with the dark canopy shadowing over are great for a drive. In the winter, the traffic isn’t too terrible, allowing one to drive freely and enjoy the vistas, wildlife sightings and of course the spectacular trees.
Hiking is one of the best ways to see the park and of course my favorite. Many exhilarating trails lead to fantastically wonderful views of monolithic cliffs and mountains such as these, where the air is crisp and forest is breathtaking.
Many little bodies of water and larger lakes exist throughout and near the park. While many of them are naturally occurring having no or a very shallow exit for water to escape, Hume Lake is man-made. Originally built to accommodate logging in the area, it is now a serene place to spend some time.
The views to the west provide sweeping scenes of the Western Sierra and the great, productive Central Valley beyond.
The sheer size of the sequoia trees is hard to imagine until one actually sees them up close and views the height-many as tall as the Statue of Liberty and the girth.
The views of the Sierra Nevada, looking west here are spectacular. While Mount Whitney-the tallest peak in the lower 48 is hidden from most of the park, these other high points, with their layer of snow and high valleys in the foreground provide very pleasurable viewing indeed.