Sequoia National Park
12/28 -- 12/31/2003
We are not active in any winter sports, but winter in Sequoia National Park is still attractive to me with its snow-capped mountains and big trees. Although the access in the park is much limited in winter (only the Giant Forest area was still open and the road between Sequoia and Kings Canyon was closed), it also has much less visitors to compete with.
As usual, we (= Woanyu) were very well prepared for this trip. Food, clothes, shoes, snow chains, a MP3 player (no more CD's), books, and toys filled up the back seats of our minivan. The sky was so clear that we could see the distant Sierra-Nevada mountains far from Highway 99. Although the weather was sunny and clear, we were required to put on the snow chains at higher elevation after entering the park. With the practice I had in my garage previous weekend, it was a smooth installation and took me less than 10 minutes without any struggling.
|The General Sherman Tree is 274.9 feet (83.8 m) tall and 102.6 feet (31.3 m) in circumference at its base. With 52,500 cubic feet (1486.6 m^3) of wood, the General Sherman Tree earns the title of the World's Largest Living Thing. Although the trail was packed solid enough to walk normally, we still put on our snowshoes so we can walk into deeper snow. It turned out Linus was ok with snowshoes, but Iris was still too little to maneuver the bulky snowshoes. Iris fell down a few times; she began to cry and refused to walk any further.|
|We came back to Wolverton again in the morning for more snow play. We were the second car in the Wolverton parking lot. Because of the heavy snow last night, we put on the snowshoes to walk out our own trail from deep snow. We got to the slope with all fresh snow and made a few test slides to smooth out the track for the sleds. Linus made several successful runs by himslf and started to refuse to ride with me. After a few rides, Iris got some snow into her boots again and stopped playing, and only cookies can keep her from crying more.|
|After a short break and lunch, the weather changed dramatically. It began to snow harder and harder. We drove to the Giant Forest and began our snowshoe walk on the Big Trees Trail. This trail is an easy loop with a big meadow in the center and we can have good close views of sequoias. Iris was much better in controlling her snowshoes than yesterday. She actually can "float" on the snow without sinking too much. Unfortunately, after walking and running for a while, Iris fell down and refused to go on. Linus and I kept going, but Linus also got tired after about half way of the trail. I took off his snowhoes and turned back to the trailhead, and found Iris was having snacks and smiled again.|
It's about noon when we left Wolverton to head back home. Linus and Iris had some snacks in the car while I was driving down the winding and foggy roads. The visibility was so poor sometimes that everyone in the car were looking out for me. It's a big relief that we finally reached the point where we can take off the snow chains.
|We stopped by Hospital Rock and Tunnel Rock on our way out of the park. They were good opportunities to get out of cars to stretch legs after driving more than an hour of winding road.|
We had a late lunch at a McDonalds on Highway 198 and started a 4-hour driving back home. Woanyu always complains about the winter trips with snow activities because we need to prepare much more stuffs. I have to agree with her especially when Iris got frustrated physically and mentally with snow. It's a good thing that we live in the place where we don't have to worry about dealing with snow, but still can have some snow to play with in a few hour of driving.
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