Sequoia National Park & Monument

Sequoia National Park & Monument • Original Publication DATE: 6/10/2011

Sequoia National Monument – In search of giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron gigantium)

A slow return north from Mexico found me revisiting old stomping grounds in the southern Sierra Nevada. I first drove from Kernville to Springville to fully enjoy the Giant Sequoia National Monument. When I first ventured out on my own after college I lived near Springville and taught environmental education at SCICON. On weekends I would often attend church in the Freeman Creek grove, disappearing for hours on end in one of the largest stands of sequoias outside the national parks. I returned to this grove to re-explore 15 years after my first visits–I think the trees have gotten bigger.

Freeman Creek Grove

Freeman Creek Grove

Sequoia fir encroachment

While the grove is spectacular, the white firs are encroaching–fire needs to be reintroduced.

Freeman Creek Grove


Sequoia National Park – In search of foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana)

I was hoping that by early June I might be able to access Mineral King and get into some foxtail pine groves from roads end. However this winter was exceptionally wet and the spring continued the trend of cold with frequent precipitation. My best hope to enjoy the high country was to snowshoe from the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park so I set out from Wolverton to climb Alta Peak. The going was slow and the trail was non-existent, being buried under many feet of snow–immediately after leaving the parking lot. One benefit of hiking in these conditions was the lack of other visitors. The parking lot at Wolverton can accommodate at least 200 cars–mine was the only one in the lot when I left and when I returned–and I saw no one else on the walk. While I did not summit Alta Peak, I climbed a nearby unnamed peak (10,578′) covered with majestic foxtails.

Sequoia National Park & Monument

Approaching Alta Peak in a foxtail pine grove.

Sequoia National Park & Monument

The peaks of the Mineral King area revealed themselves in the distance.

Alta Peak (to the far left) appears through the foxtail pines and clouds.

Alta Peak (to the far left) appears through the foxtail pines and clouds.

snow

Woke up the last morning without a view and covered in snow–it was time to return to civilization.

Sequoia National Park & Monument

The Kaweah River valley as seen from Panther Gap westward to the Central Valley–snowline dropped to 6000′.

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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Gambolin’ Man
URL: http://gambolinman.blogspot.com
DATE: 6/10/2011 2:40:45 PM
A fine adventure and wonderful narrative indeed to another area little known and explored by Gambolin’ Man.
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Allison
DATE: 6/10/2011 3:36:49 PM
Sorry the snow chased you back to civilization ahead of schedule, but we are so happy to have you back!
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Joyce
DATE: 6/10/2011 4:47:04 PM
Brought tears to my eyes! It was at that park, when you were 12 years old, that I knew we had lost you to California. You are happy and healthy and living the life you were meant to live. Hooray~ nothing could make me happier! Love, Yo Mama
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Jeffrey Kane
DATE: 6/10/2011 9:59:36 PM
dude. that picture of mineral king parting from the clouds……spectacular. That are is one of my favorites in Sequoia.

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