After our trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains last year ended up being less than stellar, we’ve been determined to take another trip to spend among the giant sequoia trees that grown on the western slope of this range. Living in California for the summer, we didn’t have too far of a drive to spend two days camping in King’s Canyon National Park. Adjacent to Sequoia National Park, King’s Canyon may not have the superlatives of its neighbor (it has the second largest tree in the world, General Grant, while the largest is General Sherman in Sequoia), but it does have plenty of opportunities for a quiet stroll beneath the largest trees on Earth.
Our first excursion after arriving was to the General Grant Grove area. The size of the sequoias is hard to appreciate until you’re standing next to one, and we had plenty of chances to get up close and person with these magnificent trees. While the living trees are certainly the stars, the massive remains of fallen trees were a treat to explore as well. The trunk behind General Grant made for an awesome natural playground, and the kids spent countless minutes climbing up through its well worn remains and sliding back down again.
Next, we settled into our campsite at Azalea Campground, right next to Grant Grove. We luckily happened upon Site 57, which is probably the best camp sight we’ve ever stayed in. Much of the campground felt cramped, but our site gave plenty of space and privacy, with a big rock outcropping behind it for the kids to explore to their heart’s content. The previous occupant left plenty of firewood, so each night we cooked dinner over the fire while the Younger Fives prepared elaborate skits and songs to liven things up.
The next day we decided to take a hike off-the-beaten path at the Redwood Canyon Trail, a short drive from the campground which required about a mile and a half down a dirt road, which was in pretty good shape. Unlike at Grant Grove, we didn’t see a single person the whole day we spent at Redwood Canyon. The sequoias here were not the celebrities of the forest, but they still looked as huge as any we had seen. We also had a good lesson on how sequoias grow by examining the cones, which when they dry out (often after a fire) release seeds, which soon grow into seedlings. The peace and beauty of this grove was incredible, and we happily spent the day with no destination wandering beneath (and sometimes into) the trees, crossing streams and enormous logs along the way. We felt so fortunate that the stars aligned for this visit to the sequoias and that we had the privilege to walk amongst these gentle giants.