Monday, August 8, 2016

Road Trip Day 1- Sequoia

We decided to do this trip because between remodeling the kitchen and flight prices for four, it was definitley the less expensive option. Plus we have been to a lot of places outside the U.S. which is wonderful, but we have never explored our own home. California. Its to the point where when we go to Big Bear, Archie asks, "Do they speak French here?"

Everything fell in to place with Dallas having the time off, some hotel points and us having more time before school starts, etc.

I tried to plan this trip so that we were actually doing something or experiencing something each day. I wanted to do something different than we do every day here. I don't just like seeing things like we would at a museum. I wanted to DO things. And that we did. 

The first activity day of our road trip was to Sequoia National Park. We had intended to hike Crescent Meadows, but by the time we got there, we would have been cutting it too close to our Crystal Caves Tour. So we decided to do the Big Trees Trail instead and see how the kids did with the hike.

The way there was fun, we had a good hotel breakfast where you could make your own waffles and the kids swam in the pool the night before. We packed lots of activity books in the car and we listed to Peter and The Star Catchers on audiobook. A very cute book. Its read by Jim Dale (who reads the Harry Potter audiobooks) and is the prequel to Peter Pan.

They were excited to see the world's oldest trees.

That is until five steps out of the car Winnie said her legs hurt and that she hated hiking lol. We managed to prod, push and piggyback her through the whole trail and it was worth it.

Lush, green and enormous trees and meadows.

Archie is quite the little hiker dude. He was excited to see this different world and explore it. We walked through soft forest floors, on fallen trees and even through a fallen sequoia and some rock tunnels.










Even though it was nearly 100 degrees out, it was still so lush and most everything was shaded by canopy of these huge trees.







I like the scale that these photos show. There is the tree and us humans are just little footnotes.


I never could get far back enough to get the tops of the trees in the shot.


Some of the textures on the trees were very intriguing. You could see the layers of life and in some cases that they had been burned underneath and had gone on surviving. Very cool.



These trees house whole micro communities too, from birds, to chipmunks, ants, moss and who knows what else.





























Winnie the flower collector. Wherever she goes.







Next we made our way down a mountain for a tour of the Crystal Caves. 


These pictures are horrible because I brought the wrong lens and there was very little light. 


Inside the caves is about 50 degrees. We had to wear sweters despite it being almost 100 degrees right outside.


The tour guide told us that the cave stays the same temperature year round. The cave was originally discovered by Native Americans and used for shelter from the elements.


You can't tell from the pictures but it was quite sparkly all around.


We learned a lot about the creatures that live in caves and how they evolve.








At one point they actually turned out all of the lights so we could get an idea of the natural state of the cave. It was very interesting. Pitch black, all we could hear was running water and feel the cold air.


The hike back up to the top of the mountain was pretty tough.


We met our first waterfall of the trip.


There were small paths that had death defying drops on one side. Kinda freaked me out a little, but was also very adventurous and thrilling.



I try to show the drops here in the pic, but it really doesn't show it at all.


This one is a bit better. You can see the mountains in the far off and that gives a better idea of this ledge.






This pic below gives a good idea of just how small we are in the grand scheme of these mountains.





We did one more little jaunt to see the General Sherman but everyone was pretty much beat by that point.



Done with our hikes for the day we are ready for the five hour drive to Yosemite. We are taking the long way, so we get to see all of the beautiful views as we listen to stories about pirates and Peter Pan!

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