Tuesday I drove back up to Sequoia National Park, this time with the intention of actually driving through it! I timed it perfectly to get through the construction zone at 10 o’clock. They are doing major road work and hold traffic for an hour at a time throughout the day.
When the sign said “One Lane Road Ahead” it wasn’t kidding. Once I got in the construction zone the southbound lane was GONE. I don’t know what prompted it but crews have dug down and removed about 30 feet below the road level at which I was driving north. It looks like they are building a new outer retaining wall (this road runs next to a cliff) and will then build up the foundation and surface for a new lane. They close the road from 8pm to 6am (with one pass at 1130 PM as I learned yesterday) and do most of the work at night. There were people there working on Tuesday but the heavy equipment had been moved to the ends of the 1/2 mile stretch they are replacing.
Soon after passing the construction zone I got to the area of the Park called the Giant Forest. This is where the big trees are, and I mean BIG.
This is a two-shot panorama – looking top to bottom (never thought I’d have to do that!).
The technical name for these trees is Sequoiadendron Giganteum. Seriously.
When I was going back to Visalia on Monday evening I passed a minivan with North Carolina plates and I waved as I drove by. Well, damned if I didn’t see that same vehicle in the second place I pulled over to park after getting past the construction zone! They are a young couple with three small kids (in North Carolina we call them young’uns). They live is western NC, near Asheville, and are on a month-long tour of some of the National Parks in the western US. They go to Yosemite next (I’ll be there all next week), then the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. I told them they are in for a real treat.
But now, back to the trees!
This one is a little deceiving. The trunk looks huge but it actually supporting two trees:
And here is another example, this time looking in an up sequence and again using the length of my car as a reference to the size of this double-tree base:
There are many single-trunk trees which truly are gigantic, but they are generally located away from the road and it is hard to get a reference comparison with something “normal”. I did not go see the “General Sherman” tree, which is the largest living thing on the planet, although you can find pictures and dimensions of it online.