Snowshoeing in Giant Forest

12:17 a.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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A friend of mine asked if I had yesterday off (yes) and if I wanted to go snowshoeing in Giant Forest (YES!!!).  Tough decision...winter is by far my favorite time to be in Giant Forest.  The vivid color combination - blue skies, white snow, green needles, and cinnamon sequoia trunks - makes it a magical place.

We headed up yesterday morning, and found a place to pull out and head first to the Washington tree.  Stepping out of the truck, first tree we passed was this one


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On the way up the hill to Washington


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Until a few years ago, the Washington tree was the second largest tree on earth.  Then a fire destroyed the crown, and the top half of the tree eventually collapsed.  I was there with some scouts the day before the fire.  Now it is a tall stump


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With my friend for scale


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From there we went toward the Congress trail, these were along the way


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Nothing special, just a typical sequoia with a burn scar for character


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The Lincoln tree


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12:25 a.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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The McKinley tree


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The House group


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More typical scenery


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The Senate Group


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Then we reached the President.  Recent measurements by the National Geographic Society moved it from the #4 tree to the #2 tree.  They also got a good core for an accurate age - 3500 years.


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We ate lunch there under the President


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12:30 a.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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The Chief Sequoyah tree is right by the President


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Sadly, we eventually had to head for home.  We walked the three miles back to the truck by a different route, here are some pictures along the way


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The Pillars of Hercules

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The Black Arch
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The Franklin tree


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12:33 a.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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A few more pics on the way out


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I had a very enjoyable day.  For most of the day we saw no one else, the weather was great, and it was so still and quiet.  Even the animals were quiet, the only sound was a single woodpecker.  I can't recommend a winter visit to Giant Forest strongly enough, it is something to experience in person.  Pictures just don't come close to conveying the sense of size and majesty of the trees, or the atmosphere felt under them.

6:20 a.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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Nice! We were able to get to the Big Trees twice during our sojourn in CA, once in March and then in the height of tourist season in July. Amazing how the density of people decreases in proportion to the square of the distance from the General Sherman Tree and a couple other hotspots. On a busy afternoon in July I took a solo trail run (stopping to take pictures) from Sherman through Congress down to the Giant Forest and saw only a handful of people -- and a pair of bears -- in the middle couple of miles. 

12:13 p.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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Wow, nice pictures. I need to get out to some of those forests again!

6:01 p.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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I give a second WOW! Thank you.

7:02 p.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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Just added another location to my bucket list. Thank you for the post.

11:54 p.m. on February 20, 2013 (EST)
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Very cool - those trees are magnificent!

11:34 a.m. on February 21, 2013 (EST)
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That was absolutely fabulous! Thaks for sharing and the great photos!

12:19 p.m. on February 24, 2013 (EST)
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Amazing trees!  It's always a great day when you get to play outside.

11:06 a.m. on February 26, 2013 (EST)
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Impressive trip.  Was there actually enough snow for show shoes?  Looks a little thin.

9:31 p.m. on February 26, 2013 (EST)
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Yes, snowshoes were needed.  For most of the area there was 1-2 feet on the ground.  A lot of the pictures are deceptive because all of the dead needles on top of the snow make it look like dirt with a thin snow covering.

The real issue, more important than the snow depth, was the fact that there was a significant crust.  The prospect of postholing for six miles in crusty snow would not be appealing to me.

2:57 p.m. on February 27, 2013 (EST)
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awesome. I haven't been there since I was a kid. makes me want to go back.

September 30, 2014
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