This summer, we took our annual trip to my hometown of Tulare, California. While visiting, we decided to make the one hour drive to Sequoia National Park.
It had been years since we made our windy drive up to the park, but it didn’t disappoint. There were vast road improvements I quickly noticed, such as additional guardrails along the steep climb. For someone who has lived in Texas for the past 15 years, I am more appreciative of the beauty of my childhood forest and it’s clean air. I’m sure I annoyed my husband with all the brief road stops for photo ops. I deemed these necessary since I marveled at the size of the trees in the Giant Forest. With an overactive imagination, we fibbed a story to the kids of a mythical creature, such as a unicorn or Sasquatch would appear.
I’d recommend an early trip to Sequoia National Park because it gets crowded during the summer months. With my dad accompanying us on our trip, we received a discounted senior citizen admission (thanks, Papa!). We stopped by the nearest Visitor Center and got cool information for the kiddos on how to obtain their Park Ranger badges.
We made sure to hike our way up to the General Sherman Tree (275 feet tall and36.5 feet across the base) after a one mile hike on foot. Though it was amazing, I felt guilty for having my dad walk up and down the paved path because of the elevation change. So, I’d suggest making frequent stops and taking your time while on the one mile hike.
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As a family, this was our first trip to General Sherman Tree. As kids, we never ventured that far up the park. Now with better roads, one must make a visit here. It was such a beautiful sight to be reminded of God’s greatness! Right there and then, I told my husband I’d love to retire near Sequoia National Park. It’s so serene and the scenery is indescribable.
Before making our car trip down, we decided to eat lunch at The Peaks Restaurant inside Wuksachi Lodge, close to the Giant Forest Grove. As we parked, our youngest said she spied a deer. I didn’t take her statement seriously until I spotted a deer a few feet away. It was unbelievably cool! We managed to take a few photos, but left in a hurry as we didn’t want it to charge at us.
As we made our way to the table, we noticed our incredible view of the trees through the soaring windows. I felt as if I was in the movie Twilight, set in Washington. We were famished and by the time lunch was over, we had finished the kids’ Junior Park Ranger packets and finally got a taste of lavender ice cream. Yes, yummy! The kids were excited to get their badges and it was definitely worth the time and effort.
If you ever make it to the California’s central valley, visit this park!
– Ausa Faria