Seven Weeks Across America
Even if you've seen sequoia trees in a small grove before, you should still visit Sequoia National Park. It is so awe-inspiring to see them everywhere you look. There are paved trails that make accessing them easy. It's one of these paths that lead to the General Sherman tree - the largest tree in the world by volume. It's about 2,000 years old. Many other sequoias in the park are older, but it found a prime spot to grow which is why it is so very large. It's really quite an experience to tilt your head back and just look up to the top of the tree.
That's not really a solitary experience in the summer, particularly when you are depending on the bus system to shuttle you around. It was in fact a little distressing to see so many people behaving badly, collecting pine cones in bags, clearly to take home, and stepping off the trail to take photos with the sequoia trees, which hurts their shallow roots. It was a tough lesson to teach my little Junior Ranger to hold her tongue instead of correcting the many people who were breaking the park rules.
We found some solace later by taking the Soldiers Loop Trail. We saw only two other families on our hike, and we even left behind the sounds of the road. This, to me, was the best part of our Sequoia National Park experience.
That and not having a bear break into our camper. When we arrived at our campground, there was a sign saying there had been 3 car break-ins by bears in the past week. A ranger drove through the campground every 15 minutes to look for any food that had been left unnattended. I'm happy to report I didn't so much as see a bear during our stay.