The first day she was here though she went on a day long tour bus to keep herself occupied while i had an 8-hour meeting (THE WORSE THING EVER). So she got her fill of touristy stuff. The next day we went to the Legion of Honor to see the show "High Line" which is a show of the Met's clothing collection. My mom being a seamstress loved it... And I'll post those pics later.
Then the next couple days we were going to go to Sequoia and Yosemite but a storm was passing through so we pushed back the plans and just hung around the house and drove/walked around Oakland. It was nice just having her hang out at my house.
Then Sunday came around and we got up early, packed our stuff, and headed to Sequoia National Park. We drove for 3 hours through dry grassy hills, and almond tree fields before coming up to the mountains. Driving along a little windy river we came up to the park. It at first just was dry deserty looking plants and I was a little confused, this looks nothing like what I expected. And then we just started driving up a mountain, and kept going up and up and up. What I didn't realize that sequoias grow really really high up, like 7000ft elevation.
I also learned at the park headquarters that Sequoia is the second National Park right after Yellowstone. So on every park ranger in the US they have sequoia cones on their hat and belts, and the NPS badge has a sequoia on it, right behind the bison. Sequoia cones are also like redwoods, they're much smaller than expected. Redwood cones are like a pistachio to cherry size, and sequoia cones are the size of a small egg.
Back to the climbing up a mountain side... My car is a hybrid, and one thing about them is they're really heavy cause of the batteries. So you can imagine they don't have much power for climbing 7000ft in just a few miles. So to our surprise (but shouldn't have been) my mom and I watched our gas milage drop faster and faster until it said we only had about 30 miles left in our tank, in a park with no gas stations. Being a bit worried and embarrassed we drove up to the park museum and confessed our gas shortage to a ranger. He was nice and told us there was a gas station right outside the park in the direction we were going and it was only about 20 miles away... and the best part, we were at the top of the hill, all down hill from there. Phew.
After the worry about gas we started enjoying the change in environment. As we climbed up the mountainside we went from dry grass to pines to SEQUOIAS. Having just been in the redwoods a week prior I was ready to see giant trees. But me oh my, these trees were way bigger than I imagined. Although not as tall as the coastal redwoods, they are massive around. They didn't evenly taper to the top like pines just went straight up and then stopped at the top with a few arm like branches at the top. And the giant sequoias were fewer and far between compared to the redwoods. There would be regular pines and smaller sequoias the BAM a huge giant. It was incredible.
Our second stop after the museum was to the General Sherman tree. This is the largest tree by volume in the WORLD. This tree is dead on top but is still growing wider. I'm not sure how that's possible but it is. It's largest branch was 7ft in diameter before falling off. The base of the tree has a diameter of 36.5" and a circumference of 102.6"... yeah it's big. And photos do it no justice. It is also a young 2,300–2,700 years and 275 ft tall.
Eventually we made our way then to General Grant grove actually located in Kings Canyon NP (the two parks join together). The Grant tree is the second largest tree in the world. Surprisingly I learned visiting that tree that the sizes are not indicative of the trees age. The size is based more on the conditions they live in. Grant tree is only 1,650 years old, I also learned the sequoias can stay relatively small for long periods of time as well if the growing conditions aren't perfect. The Grant tree is the "National Christmas Tree" and decorated with a wreath every year. It has a larger circumference, 107.6", then the Sherman tree so for a long time it was thought to be larger.
After lots of tree photos we then drove down the mountain side back into the central valley chasing the sun. We drove for another hour or so before ending up in Oakhurst a small tourist town directly south of Yosemite, and got some rest before our big adventure the next day in... YOSEMITE.
Have you been to Sequoia?