I am pleased to report that General Sherman is alive and well—the Giant Sequoia redwood tree named for the General, that is. I paid a visit on Sun., Aug. 16, taking advantage of the last free weekend to visit national parks this year. It was certainly a beautiful day to drive up to Sequoia National Monument Park (approximately 1½ hours) to visit the General and to just enjoy the beautiful sunshine and to escape the heat of the San Joaquin Valley.
On the way to the General, I parked beside the first grove of giants and noticed a family with five children climbing over the fence that is meant to separate the trees from people who are there to admire these wonders. I am certain that they meant no harm. However, be mindful that Sequoia redwoods do not have roots that branch out, so it is very important for vegetation to grow around them to prevent erosion. Therefore, please honor the fences and protective rules and regulations
inside the park.
Visitors to the General Sherman Tree are awed by its size and that it is the oldest living thing on earth.
When you travel to Sequoia National Park, be sure to wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on compacted dirt and climbing granite steps. Also, be sure to carry water, as there is no water along the trail. The paths are neatly groomed and wide enough to accommodate large numbers of people. The trail to the General Sherman tree is about .4 of a mile. Although it did seem much cooler at 7,000 feet than at Fresno’s near sea-level elevation, I warmed up quickly hiking down, around, and up the trail again. For those of us who cared to rest on occasion, there are carved redwood benches that I can attest are very comfortable.
The little walk down to the big trees is a good way to take note of flora and fauna, such as lizards, chipmunks and pine cones. I find it quite ironic that sugar pine cones are more than a foot long and produce huge trees, but Sequoia pine cones are smaller than a grenade and produce trees that dwarf the tall sugar pines. In the shadow of the General, there is a young redwood that is only about six inches in diameter and about seven feet tall. It’s bark is still young and defined, and its branches are many and willowy. I wonder how many millennia—if ever—it will have to wait until it stands as tall as the General Sherman tree.
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