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24 January 2009 @ 10:19 am
My MLK Weekend  
This is trying to be a cross between a Robin and a Rosie post. Let's see how it goes. :)

Last weekend it was hot. It was about 85 and I was sick of sitting at home just being hot and lazy. Also, I've been working at work and my internship more than should be necessary so I wanted to take advantage of the 3 day weekend. I have to work Saturdays and then the organizer for my knitting meetup couldn't go to the meetup on Sunday so I agreed to run it. This meant all I had was from about 1 PM on Sunday to Monday evening to have a weekend. Well, I decided I was not going to give up on it.

When I woke up on Sunday, I was looking outside my apartment window at a playground, a parking lot and tennis courts.

When I woke up on Monday, I saw this:

Sometime during the week I'd realized that Sequoia National Park was only about 4 hours away. So after my knitting meetup on Sunday, around 1 I took off up Highway 5 for the mountains.

Every time I've driven up through the Angeles National Forest, north of LA, I've always been captivated by this lake that's along the highway in the mountains. I don't think I've ever really appreciated water as much as I do now that I'm here. Yes, there is a whole lot of water in the ocean, but when you're just hiking, most of the year you won't find any creeks or streams or lakes. So driving along the highway and suddenly seeing a pool of still water is impressive. This time, I decided to stop and take a look.

There's a water resource museum and an overlook of the lake.

Along the ride, I was most amazed at how quickly the vegetation and landscape changed. You can drive for four hours from Cleveland in almost any direction (except maybe across the lake) and see very little change in the scenery. I went from tropical, hot weather, to yucca plants in the Santa Monica mountains, down to agricultural valleys growing almonds, grapes, oranges and plums and finally up 7,000 feet above sea level where the largest trees in the world grow.

In the San Joaquin Valley approaching the Sierra Nevada.

I stayed in the town of Three Rivers, not far from the park entrance. It's about 1,000 ft in elevation. I stayed at a place called the Lazy J and it was marvelous! I went to the office and asked the lady how much it would be. She asked how many people. When I told her it was just me she said "$65." She also let me use the phone to call my mom and Aidee to tell them where I was staying.

In the morning I woke up to sheeps, donkeys and goats bleating for the breakfasts.

I left Three Rivers behind at about 8:30 to go up into the park.

From the 85 degree weather in Orange County, as I ascended I lost 45 degrees. I know... it wasn't that cold, but there was snow on the ground and I had to slowly pile on the layers. The ride up the mountain was winding - not as bad as the PCH near Monterrey, but enough so that I managed to feel a little car sick and I was the one driving.

My first welcome to the park was a beautiful looking coyote just on the side of the road.

One of my first stops was Beetle Rock. Most of the trails were closed due to the snow, but you could climb out on this rock overlooking the valley. It was amazing!

I had stopped in the gift shop and bought a postcard with animal tracks on it (thinking of Robin Clancy!). I was able to identify these tracks on the rock as coyote prints. It was so quiet and there were almost no other people so I did worry a little about being eaten by a black bear with no one around to hear me scream, but luckily I didn't even see any bear prints.

In the gift shop I also saw this wheel which describes what happens the thousands of sequoia seeds in each pine cone and how difficult it is for the trees to survive to maturity. I thought it was a wheel of Rosemary Durda's nightmares.

Okay, okay, so by now I should probably show you a picture of a sequoia.

This is General Sherman (the largest trees are named after generals). It is the largest living thing in the world. It's really difficult to grasp the size of these trees because there are so many. The small ones are the size of large trees of other types so your perspective gets really messed up. I found the only way that I could really look at it and understand was when I saw other people near the trees from a distance.


Look how tiny those people are!

If you want to see more pictures, there are a couple of more at my flickr.

I bought a National Park Pass because I definitely want to go back when the trails are open in Spring or Fall. Also, my roomie wants to go the Grand Canyon which isn't too far and I want to go to Yosemite.

Hopefully more adventures will be posted soon!
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Elentarielvenelentari on January 25th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
WICKED! I would love to go here. It's amazing just looking at the pictures, I would be in tree heaven if I were there! I bet it's like being on another planet. I'm glad you went!
lannaspartaflag on January 25th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Yeah for adventures! It looks really beautiful. When it warms up here, I need to do more outdoors exploring. I haven't even scratched the surface of things to do out in Connecticut or in New York, or even in the parts of upstate New York I can reach by train!
Galant Gadaboutroc441 on January 25th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
Yay adventures! The trees are amazing. You are making me wish I had gone to Sequoia this summer.
Merizardofoz on January 25th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
AAAAAAAAAGHHHH!!! This entry made me want it to be May so hard! I'm glad you were able to experience though in January. All I can do is huddle in some warm location away from the frigidity. Bask in it! =)