Monday, May 23rd
At night I met Tim from Illinois, when I asked him and his dad for some lighter fluid. Tim gave me the leftovers from their DuraFlame starter log, and then he joined me at my campfire a little while later. We got really personal, talking about religion, sexuality, politics, etc. We hung out at the edge of the raging creek just down from my site.
|View from the base of Moro Rock|
Then I visited awesome Moro Rock. I ascended the steep, 1/4-mile staircase that climbs over 300' (91.4 meters) to the summit of the granite dome, which gave way spectacular views of the western half of Sequoia National Park and the Great Western Divide. The panoramic views were breathtaking.
I stopped to snap a photo of 2,300 year-old "Buttress Tree," which without warning fell in June of 1953. I checked out the trees known as the "Parker Group, considered one of the finest clusters of sequoias which can be reached by automobile," before driving through the "Tunnel Log. Sequoia and Kings Canyon have never had a drive-through tree. The Wawona Tunnel Tree, the famous "tree you can drive through", grew in the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park, 100 air-miles north of Sequoia and Kings Canyon. It fell over during the severe winter of 1968-69. Visitors to Sequoia National Park can drive through a fallen sequoia, however. In December 1937, an unnamed sequoia 275' (83.8 meters) high and 21' (6.4 meters) in diameter fell across the Crescent Meadow Road as a result of "natural causes". The following summer, a Civilian Conservation Corps crew cut a tunnel through the tree. The tunnel is 8' (2.4 meters) high and 17' (5.2 meters) wide, and there is a bypass for taller vehicles."
Then I got out of the car for a hike in beautiful Crescent Meadow, where several miles and wrong turns on the snow-covered trails later, I made it to "Tharpe's Log, a fallen sequoia that provided a rustic summer home for the Giant Forest's first Caucasian resident, Hale Tharp. I was also lucky enough to see a bear! A great hike, though my feet were freezing. Note to self: Never wear crocks if there's a chance of snow!
I stopped at the Giant Forest Museum to get a load of "Sentinel Tree," which at 2,200 years-old and 700 tons (the weight of two fully-loaded jumbo jets) is considered only average for a sequoia.
|"Tunnel View" of Yosemite Valley|
|Lower Yosemite Falls|
Friday, May 27th
|El Capitan from Yosemite Valley|
I went to the Visitor Center to ask about Glacier Point Road, and to my luck found that it would indeed open today! It's usually open a lot sooner, but it's been delayed due to massive snow this year. It would open at noon. I walked through the back door of the visitor center to the amphitheater and watched "The Spirit of Yosemite," showing "the rare beauty of Yosemite with the historical influences that helped to create it."
Afterward I stopped at a few points of interest along the 7-mile loop around Yosemite Valley, including popular Bridalveil Fall, which with all the snow melting, was so intense you couldn't even see it through the cloud of spray at the viewpoint, which had inches of water running down the trail to it!
|Half Dome from Glacier Point Road|
Then off to visit my friend Justin in Oakland!