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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 4 Recap

The first several hours of day 4 was spent driving east towards Sequoia Park. I did take one wrong turn - my only real mis-step of the trip, that set me back a good half hour or so, but nothing serious. I got to Sequoia by 10AM, which was perfect. It took a few hours to drive in, since, again, I was stopping every few minutes to shoot pictures and take in some new view. It was almost a half hour in before I came up to the trees for which the park is named. I didn't realize, but Sequoias actually grow at pretty high altitudes - between 5 and 6 thousand feet - so there was a lot of climbing inovolved.

Once I hit them though... wow. Again, I'm sure photos won't do them justice - and it will be interesting trying to do vertical panoramas, as the trees never fit into a single photo - but they really are ridiculously huge. The first thing of note I came onto was the General Sherman tree, aka the largest tree in the world. They set up a whole little area for it, where you had to hike down from the parking lot to see it. Pretty incredible.

After that, I made my way to Lodgepole, which is one of the main lodges in the park and also where my campground was. I had camp set up by 1PM or so, and went to the visitor center to get some trail information. The woman there was very helpful, and told me of a trail that was about a 2.5 hour hike, perfect considering the time of day. I took my time hiking the trail, but holy crap was it worth it.

Lots of people throw around superlatives every day. For trivial things usually - calling a cookie "the greatest thing I ever tasted", calling a random girl on the street "the most beautiful girl ever." It makes it difficult to describe something truly awe-inspiring. But at the end of this hiking trail, I came into a ravine area, basically surrounded on 3 sides by 1500-foot cliffs , one of which had a waterfall. I literally had my breath taken away. I couldn't get the grin off my face. If you've ever seen Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt. Washington, it was a similar look, but just so much more. Of all the photos I've taken on this trip, this is the one that disappoints me the most - none of them even come close to conveying the awesomeness of this spot.

After the hike, nothing much special. I had some dinner at the lodge - the lodge was really a bunch of little things - a visitor center, gift shop, mini grocery store, snack bar, and deli. After that, I did some reading and went to bed.

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