The drive to Sequoia National Park took a lot longer than we expected. This was partly bad planning on our part and partly as we had to stop to buy more clothes for the girls who needed another pair of shorts and some t-shirts and underwear. Taking 2 children on an adventure like this is fantastic but they go through a lot of clothes (and some of them we’re thrown away as the dirt just won’t wash out – if anyone has a way of getting tree sap out of clothes, please let me know…)
We arrived at Wuksachi Lodge at 10pm with two very tired girls who were more than ready for bed. The reception staff were most unhelpful, forgetting to point out that we’d need a torch to find our way to the building we were staying in and giving pretty bad instructions on how to get there. Not a great start but the room was warm and comfortable and we were all soon asleep.
The next morning, all annoyance disappeared despite the tiredness as the surroundings are beautiful. We’re about 6000ft up, surrounded by trees and the remnants of the Winter snow yet still the temperatures reach 25c during the day and the sun continues to shine on us. Just brilliant! Breakfast over, we set off to find picnic supplies. This was a challenge as most facilities are still closed, so we ended up with some tasteless sandwiches (no idea how long they’d sat there…) and not much else. Good job the girls don’t eat much (unless it’s chocolate cake of course – see below…)
We spent a happy morning driving around seeing lots of different huge trees and logs:
We also saw the Auto Log – so big you could drive a car onto the top of it (not allowed to now…) and lots and lots of massive trees in the Giant Forest but there are only so many pictures you need to see of giant trees. The girls thought it was hilarious that we were driving round shouting in amazement at every big tree – they probably thought we’d completely lost it as they began to mimic our enthusiasm!
We stopped for lunch on a rock by Crescent Meadow then wandered through the snow to get to Tharp’s Log. There was a fly fisherman standing by the river and he caught a fish to show the girls, who were most impressed and he promised them a go on the way back from our walk.
The nice thing about being in a forest is that there is an endless supply of sticks. This is good for the girls who can make music, pretend to fish or hit me with them, and a good thing for my lovely husband who, it turns out, likes nothing better than having a stick in one hand and a pen knife in the other! The girls had excellent pretend fishing rods which they waved around, hitting us and each other (accidentally, most of the time) all the way to Tharp’s Log. Tharp was the first settler to move into the area and is said to have discovered the Giant Forest. He made his home in a fallen tree during the Summer for 20 years, whilst his livestock roamed the meadows there. And what a fantastic place to have a home. He stopped going to the cabin once the area became part of the Sequoia National Forest in 1890 but the log is still there, with his bed, table and bench inside. Sequoias don’t rot as the tannins in the trunk are too bitter for insects to eat, so they just stay where they fall for hundreds of years. Even sawdust from cut down trees can sit in the pile it fell in for over 100 years.
We wandered back towards Crescent Meadow through the snow, until we got to this fallen Sequoia. It fell into the middle of a meadow, which at the moment is more of a shallow river as the snow melts. We climbed up and walked along to the very end to stand on this trunk in the middle of a river.
When we got back to Crescent Meadow, the fisherman (Chris) and his wife (Penny) were still there and very kindly let both girls have a go at fly fishing. Their Uncle Bruce would be proud! Particularly as they both caught fish on their first cast.
The fish were small brook trout and were beautiful colours. The Little One loved stroking her fish and was most disappointed that it had to go back into the river. She is very keen to have a pet…
We spent a happy hour in the sun fishing with the rods that my lovely husband had made and which Chris attached fishing twine and a hook to. It was a nice way to spend time in such a beautiful spot and I could almost be tempted to take up fishing. The girls now want to stick their rods in every stream and river we go past!
Our last stop was to see the biggest tree in the world – General Sherman. It is enormous and is still growing.
Back to the hotel and the girls were so difficult over dinner (very tired) that my lovely husband went off to see the sunset at Moro Rock by himself whilst the girls and I had desert. We missed out on a beautiful sunset but I the girls definitely preferred chocolate cake!