Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Over the Labor Day weekend, we drove down to the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, two National Parks that are administered as one.

The Trees
If you love trees, the parks will be a dream come true since the highlights of the parks are the giant sequoia trees. I'm not particularly enamored of trees but the sight of the trees rising majestically into the sky was definitely awe-inspiring. Everything else around the trees was dwarfed by them and the sheer size, height and bulk of the trees, many of which were thousands of years old, made us feel rather puny. There were several trails that allowed us to walk among groves of sequoias and these made for relaxing, cool hikes. Ofcourse, the park service had done some things to make things a bit more interesting. One was the Tunnel Log, a tree that fell across the road and had been cut into to make an artificial tunnel for cars to drive under. Another was the Auto Log, a massive fallen tree that was so wide that it actually served as a roadway in the past.

Other Sights
Water-based sights(waterfalls, lakes, streams, etc.) definitely come much higher on my list of favorite sights than trees. So went looking for those at these National parks too. While Day 1 was water-free, we drove to Hume Lake on Day 2. It was a pretty, picturesque lake and we had lunch by the lakeside (many other people had the same idea and so it was pretty crowded though). We also drove to 2 waterfalls - Grizzly Falls and Roaring River Falls. The former was tall but not very impressive but the latter was a pretty little waterfall with the water falling into a waterhole. As always, we clambered onto the rocks around the waterfall and later, the creek, leading from it and that was fun. We also made the climb(a lot of stairs!) to the top of Morro Rock for some spectacular panoramic views of the canyon.

The Wildlife
It doesn't matter how many zoos or wild animal parks we've seen. Its always exciting to spot animals in the wild without cages or fences to separate them from us. While driving in Sequoia National Park, we spotted a couple of bears in the meadow not too far from the road. People simply stopped their cars on the road and rushed out to take a look. Park officials came by soon to clear the area so it was real good timing for us. The next day, while driving down to Hume Lake, we saw a deer grazing peacefully by the roadside. Not really 'wild' life but still pretty neat though.

Some photos from the trip can be seen here.


At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going to a ntnl park is definitely time well spent than watching suntv :-)

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

Balaji, very true about how its always exciting to watch these wildlife in their own natural habitat!! We were thrilled when we saw couple of bears in Yellowstone NP and that ended up being the highlight of the trip :)

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pictures 18 and 32 were my favs...
karthik looks sooo cute and kavya so protective!
their natural and winsome smiles beats all the other pics of mother nature smiling!

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, considering how much I luv nature, going to a natl park is time well spent than pretty much anything else :)

filbert, Yellowstone huh? wonder when i'm gonna be able to strike that one off my list :)

ram, mine too :) esp. #18. that was just a small enclave by the side of the steps up to morro rock but was perfect for some nice pics :)

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We went to the 2 parks a while back (almost 5 years) and loved it. We have been meaning to go back there ever since, but somehow not able to make it. Nice re-cap and even nice pictures.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

Morro Rock was the pick of similar trip I had during 4th of July weekend. It was awesome.


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