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Old Posted Sep 4, 2009, 7:49 PM
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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks l California

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Two Parks, One Administration


In 1873 famed naturalist John Muir (1838-1914) called Kings Canyon "a rival to Yosemite". That may be an exaggeration but Kings Canyon and adjoining Sequoia National Park are very spectacular in their own right. The two parks and surrounding National Forests are home to the world's largest trees and the highest peak (Mt. Witney) in the lower 48 states. The giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) are the largest living things on earth. Take that, whales! They are, however, not the tallest trees as that distinction belongs to the coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens). The giant sequoias are found only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range and some are about 3,000+ years old. The most impressive thing about the sequoias or "Sierra redwoods" aside from their height and great age is their massive girth. The width of some of the larger trees is over 30 feet wide. The circumference of the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world based on mass, is over 100 feet! But the General Grant, found in Kings Canyon N.P. is the world's widest tree with a width of over 40 feet at the base and circumference of 107.5 feet. You really have to see the colossal trees in person to get a gauge of just how immense they are. These following pictures really don't do them justice. The sequoias are a remnant populations of trees that were once found throughout the world. Climatic changes through the ages have left these survivors stranded in their Sierra home. The have no known natural enemies and no one knows for sure how long their life cycle really is. And in addition to some breathtaking views, there is (or was) some good local marijuana to stash in your backpack! Oh Sequoia. Can you ever get us too high?

The Sentinel, a massive sequoia, Giant Forest, Sequoia N.P. Look how it dwarfs the visitors center at lower right.


Kings Canyon N.P. is actually the second oldest in the National Park System, behind Yellowstone. It lays to the north of Sequoia N.P. There's also a panhandle like projection of the park on the western side of Sequoia N.P. Here can be found the General Grant Tree, aka, "The National Christmas Tree". Trust me, you don't want to hang balls on this bitch. King Canyon gets its name from the Kings River which flows through its sheer granite walls. Just about all of the main portion of Kings Canyon is accessible by hiking trails and through the rugged back country.

A view of the foothills, Sequoia N.P.








Giant sequoias near the entrance of the Giant Forest, Sequoia N.P.


These bear warning signs are not just for show.


It's a black bear! This bear was about 50 feet from where the sign is.


Black bear (Ursus americanus) cub.




The General Sherman Tree, the world's most massive tree.






The General Sherman Tree in all its glory.








Close up of the General Grant Tree.


The General Grant Tree in full.


The two people, despite being much closer in the photos, a dwarfed by the General Grant Tree.


The incredibly wide base of the General Grant Tree.


"The Happy Family", Kings Canyon, N.P.




A view of Moro Rock, Sequoia N.P.


Trail leading to Moro Rock, Sequoia N.P.


Christ, I came up here to get away from people.


Ah, that's better.


Views from atop Moro Rock, Sequoia N.P.














Crescent Meadow, Giant Forest, Sequoia N.P. John Muir called Crescent Meadow "The gem of the Sierras".




Inside the trunk of my fallen giant, Giant Grove, Kings Canyon, N.P.




























Kings River








Kings River at the bottom of a steep gorge.


















The mighty Kings River, Kings Canyon, N.P.




Roaring Falls, Kings Canyon, N.P.


































































Mountain garter snake (Thamnophis elegans elegans), I think. You snakesperts out there can tell me for sure.






















Finis
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2009, 5:10 AM
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Freaking awesome photos! Thanks for posting them, Swinefeld!

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Old Posted Sep 8, 2009, 6:26 AM
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amazing set! every time i go to the Sierras i feel alive and rejuvenated. it really is a jawdropping place.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2009, 5:44 AM
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Great set, this is definitely on my short list of places to go in the near future.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2009, 9:10 AM
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Looks like you did exactly the same stuff I did up there in July. It was damn hot. Wasn't really expecting that so high up in the mountains.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2009, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Upward View Post
Looks like you did exactly the same stuff I did up there in July. It was damn hot. Wasn't really expecting that so high up in the mountains.
Guess what. It was hot in August too. Not as hot as the valley but still pretty hot. Just a beautiful area and I really wish more Americans got out there to see it. I swear I heard more German, French and Italian than English being spoken. Good in a way but also kind of sad. If I had a little more time in Cali I would have like to have gone up to Yosemite. Next time. That park is just jaw droppingly beautiful.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2009, 9:03 PM
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Yosemite is like a religious experience for any nature lover. its perfection, especially in early summer with the waterfall in full gear.

Lake Tahoe is yet another gorgeous place as well.
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2009, 9:12 PM
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gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing.
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2009, 3:16 PM
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I very much enjoyed the trip I took to Sequoia National Park back in the summer of 2002.
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Old Posted Sep 30, 2009, 7:32 AM
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Awesome. I love these places cause the scenery is just so massive. Too bad you went during a drought year cause when I went a few years back the Kings River was almost at the height of the road in some places...the rapids were that huge!
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2009, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ltsmotorsport View Post
Awesome. I love these places cause the scenery is just so massive. Too bad you went during a drought year cause when I went a few years back the Kings River was almost at the height of the road in some places...the rapids were that huge!
I know what you mean but it did allow me to walk out to the middle of the river and take some of the shots. Also the news documentary by Ken Burns about America's National Parks brought back good memories but made me wish I was there a little longer to visit Yosemite. Haven't been there since the early 90s. One hell of a park.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2009, 12:14 AM
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Beautiful photos! That is some breathtaking scenery.
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2017, 6:24 AM
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Really cute pictures!
I saw this park in my own eyes on the tour from Easy Usa Travel, but my camera was broken and now I don`t have any photo It`s so sad(((
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2017, 7:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swinefeld View Post
In 1873 famed naturalist John Muir (1838-1914) called Kings Canyon "a rival to Yosemite". That may be an exaggeration but Kings Canyon and adjoining Sequoia National Park are very spectacular in their own right.
As a seasoned backpacker myself who's hiked throughout the States, I've come to realize that SEKI (Sequoia/Kings Canyon) is actually the more impressive of the two Sierra park systems (Yosemite vs SEKI), especially as one reaches the more Eastern stretches of the Sierras; just past the Great Western Divide pictured in the background of this picture. While Yosemite Valley (the iconic, but limited, corner of Yosemite NP that most tourists synonymize with the entire park) is truly impressive and unique, it's in the the central Sierra, a stretch of Sierra characterized by comparatively lower elevations and less dramatic geographic relief and, of course, tons of tourists.

The thing about the SEKI portion of the Sierras is few people who aren't backpackers ever get to see the jaw-dropping beauty that's buried deep inside. The best parts of SEKI are also unsurprisingly the most rugged and, for this reason, roads were never built into these parts. Contrast this to the Colorado portion of the Rockies, where thanks to less dramatic geographic relief (Colorado is high but less "deep"), dozens of ski-towns and tons of development were possible, and there is tourist access virtually everywhere. For this reason, I'd say that this part of the Sierras is much more rugged than the Colorado Rockies overall. The High Sierra Trail and the Sierras Northwards up to Ansel Adams offers unspoiled scenic beauty that's only matched by the Wyoming stretch of the Rockies (Wind River/Tetons, Glacier NP) and the Cascades IMHO. While Yellowstone NP was technically the first National Park in the world, The Sierras are what inspired John Muir to conceptualize the setting aside of natural lands for future generations to enjoy. The legacy of national parks and the environmental movement that California continues to lead was born here.

Swinefield's photos are just a little taste of what there is to see beyond the roads. Thanks for sharing this unexpected set of photos
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2017, 8:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Upward View Post
Looks like you did exactly the same stuff I did up there in July. It was damn hot. Wasn't really expecting that so high up in the mountains.
Kings Canyon gets really hot in the lower portions (the most car-accessible parts). It's probably the deepest canyon in the US, at over 8,000 feet from cliff to river. There's no doubt that at these lower elevations it SEKI gets drier than expected for a mountain environment (vs say, Yosemite, Ansel Adams, or other portions of the Northern Sierra) especially at the height of summer/fall. That's why I find SEKI spring hiking to be the most spectacular. There's still tons of snow higher up, water is everywhere, and it's very lush in the valley at this time of year.

Also, as one ventures (by foot) higher and deeper into the park, temperatures moderate substantially and scenery gets more perennially lush.
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