|Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)|
Place: Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia, Yosemite National Park, California
Difficulty: moderate to strenuous
A day after taking my friends to Vernal Fall and Mirror Lake I took them to see the giant sequoias. Yosemite National Park is, among many other things, a home to some of the most impressive groves of Giant Sequoia: the most massive tree on Earth. The Mariposa Grove, located at the southern tip of the park, is one of the oldest known and most explored one. It is also the first one to become protected by the Act for the Yosemite Grant, much due to the efforts of Galen Clark, the first European-descent to discover the grove.
|The trunk of a mature Giant Sequoia tree|
I've hiked in that area several times before and the bis trees are always impressive. It was my first time, though, to have noticed the festival of wildflowers that was going on there in full force.
|Wild California Rose (Rosa californica)|
|Alpine Lily (Sierra Tiger Lily, Lilium parvum)|
|Broad-leaved Lotus (Hosackia crassifolia)|
|Inside the Telescope Tree|
The root crown of a fallen tree
Giant Sequoia also form a community by linking their roots underground. However, the roots of these massive trees are anything but massive. In fact, they are very sensitive and easy to damage. This was learned at the sad price of tree death due to too much human activity around and tampering with the trees. Such was the fate of the famous 'Tunnel Tree' that was weakened by the tunnel carved in it and eventually collapsed in the winter of 1968. Nowadays, landmark trees are fenced, and visitors are advised not to come up to the trees and stomp on their delicate roots.
The parasitic Snowplant (Sarcodes sanguinea) growing under the Sequoia
The wood of the Giant Sequoia is brittle and no good for construction. Very lucky for this species!
We walked from one tree to another, and I continued to enjoy the colorful spring spectacle of the forest.
|Douglas' Iris (Iris douglasiana)|
Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)
It is only half a mile more, and the view is worth it. The children grumbled, but we went there anyway. There are no giants there but many wildflowers still.
|Leichtlin Mariposa Lily (Calochortus leichtinii)|
|View North from Wawona Point|
We had a long rest stop there, enjoying the view.
|View East from Wawona Point|
I didn't beat them there, but I can excuse my tardiness by all the beautiful wildflowers I saw on my way down (of which I only present a small selection here).
|Floral buds of White-veined Wintergreen (Pyrola picta)|
|Narrow-leaved Lotus (Hosackia oblongifolia)|
|Forest Clarkia (Clarkia rhomboidea)|
The trail leads back to the landmark trees of the lower grove, where it goes through the California Tunnel Tree which still stands, and visitors take their pictures inside it. It gives one a bit of a feel to the size of this tree.
|The California Tunnel Tree|
|The Grizzly Giant|
That was the end of the brief intro to Yosemite I took my friends to this summer. I don't know when would be my next visit to this magnificent park, but next time I will probably try to see more of the wilderness areas and less of the tourist hot spots. Next summer, perhaps?
Many thanks to members of the California Native Plants Society for their help in identifying plants!