Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Day 2 in Giant land


We spent Sunday night at the Montecito Sequoia Lodge located inside the Sequoia National Forest.  The building was built years ago, added on and added on, the interior was a maze of twisting halls and stairs.  Yet our room was quaint and comfortable – and without a TV!

Imported Photos 00559 (Small)

Which was fine as we were exhausted and feel right to sleep.

Monday morning we were back visiting the giant sequoias, this time in search of General Sherman, the largest living tree (in terms of sheer mass) in the world.  On our way down the many steps to the tree we came across a stone mosaic that showed us the size of General Sherman in a way that made it easy to understand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe stone tiles are in the shape and cover the same size as the base of General Sherman.  The tree is 109 feet around.  Amazing, and hard to see when you’re right up next to the real tree.

So here he is, looking from the ground up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATruly awe inspiring.  I said to someone today that I have run out of descriptive words for these trees.  They are, in fact, indescribable.  You just have to be there.

These trees, thousands of years old, remind me how short our own lives are.  They’ve been here, sitting right here long before I came along and they’ll be here, sitting right here for a thousand years after no one remembers me at all.  That might make me feel insignificant, but in fact it gave me comfort to think that some things continue on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe walked around a meadow in the forest too…

Imported Photos 00600…which offered a bit of relief from the overpowering strength and shadows of the giant trees.  Yet in the woods surrounding the sunlit meadow were hundreds more huge trees waiting to be discovered.  They weren’t named like the trees in the giant grove, yet they were just as impressive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd you could get right up and touch them, no fences between us and these sweet giants.  We also learned on the walk around the meadow more about how fire helps in the restoration of the forest and aids in the birth of new sequoia trees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEverywhere we looked we saw the cycle; the new seedlings, the tall but immature trees, the mature giants, the burned stumps and the roots of the fallen.  It was sobering to be walking alone among these trees that have lived such long and good lives.

And for a break from the trees we decided to climb this:

Imported Photos 00662This is Moro Rock.  There are only 350 steps to the top of it.  Think of it like God’s stairmaster…without the gym membership.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd when you get to the top it looks like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd you get to see views like this:


Imported Photos 00639And then we climbed down the 350 steps to the car, while giving encouragement to those beginning their ascent.  I knew better than to lie and tell them they were almost there.  But I could promise them the climb was worth it.

Oh.  And we saw bear!  A mama bear and her two cubs down the hill from the road.  The cubs were darling, but no pictures, we only got a glimpse.  Then a bear walking down below the parking lot at Moro Rock, but we only saw him through the trees, more a shadow than a real bear.  And finally one walking down the road in front of the car in front of us.

Imported Photos 00669I got a couple quick shots of him (or her)..mostly bear butt shots, but this one was when the car in front of us was passing him slowly and the bear decided he didn’t like that.

And this shot through our driver’s side window shows a disgruntled bear kind of ticked off to be the center of attention.

Imported Photos 00672Blurry, but proof we saw a real bear.  We also saw these guys.  They were cute and stood still for their portrait.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere to tomorrow?  I don’t know.  But it will probably involve more driving and less climbing.  I’m pretty sure.

Though you never know.


Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

12 thoughts on “Day 2 in Giant land

  1. Bears! So cool! I was just talking about bear sightings to my hair dresser yesterday…..How exciting to see some!

    Those trees are simply amazing. They age beautifully. Good to know that they are in a safe place, where no one can tear them down to put up a mcmansion.

    Where are we going next Dawn?


  2. Sequoia Forest would have been worth the 300 mile detour. What a great post. Thanks for the pics of Gen Sherman. I’d only read about him, never saw any photos. The bears, however, you may keep. I’m glad I didn’t run into any during my trip!


    • I thought of you Jamie, when we were in the woods and I was jogging to catch up with husband. The ground underfoot was soft and the air was cool and it felt good to run even while carrying a camera. I told him if I lived near and if I was still a runner I’d run these trails in this park. But they don’t allow dogs…so I knew it wouldn’t be perfect for you…close, but not perfect.


  3. Okay, Dawn, those trees are on the list! Such majestic, ancient creatures. I wonder if they were inspiration for Ents?
    Guess what? We didn’t see a bear last night, but one visited. It was munching the remaining grapes – right up against our back porch!


  4. Real bears? How awesome is that? You definitely were in the right place at the right time, Dawn. However, I do hope poor Katie isn’t reading this from the kennel. She’d be sooo miffed that she didn’t get to go along, see those fabulous trees, enjoy climbing to that wonderful mountaintop, and perhaps herd a bear!!


  5. I think the only bears Mommy wants to see is the cute wooden bears in the picture you posted. Mommy is a big scaredy cat and would have been freaking out if she saw a real bear in the wild. Dawn, you are much braver than my mom! Probably 110% braver than her. Mommy would have been covering her eyes instead of trying to take a picture of a real live bear!


  6. I love the sequoias! And your descriptions make me realize that it’s probably been 30 years since I’ve been there, so time to go back again. I always bypass it in favor of Yosemite, which I really really love, but one does need occasional variety. And I’ve never been up Moro Rock. Yep, time to go back. Thanks for the photos to remind me. You definitely got lucky with bears. I’ve seen only one bear in that general, across a meadow, since the 1970s when they were still a bit more commonly seen around the campgrounds.


  7. Aaaaaand you can see my photo of that bear in this article:


  8. I am loving my vicarious travel with you, Dawn. No TV in the motel room is always a good place to start for me. Then, just when I think the trees are the best that can possibly be, you show us the climb and the views! And it’s not over yet, because then there is the BEAR! I loved all these surprises. Thank you!


  9. You are so right – indescribable!



  10. Wow! Such an awesome trip. Giants and bears and mountains, oh my. 350 steps is nothing for a view like that. 🙂


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