When we left DisneyLand, we were still at the beginning of our California adventure. T and I had agreed that we couldn't possibly bring our whole crew out to California and not make an effort to see at least some of the spectacular natural sights. So, from Anaheim, we embarked on the second stage of our epic journey and headed to Sequoia National Park.
The drive into Sequoia is twisted and surprising. The mammoth forest appears as you rise out of a fairly arid landscape. Giant trees greet you even as you arrive.
Spectacular views greeted us as well. This was just one of many breathtaking sights through the trees on our drive into the mountains.
Our first stop in the park was to climb Moro Rock, which we could preview from the road, though we were still far off.
The hike up Moro was not for the faint of heart. We made each of the kids hold an adult's hand, as the pathway was narrow and the drop off was steep. E-Bear told T, "Daddy, this is scarier than the scariest ride in DisneyLand."
The kids loved the hike, both up and down.
At the top, we were rewarded with the most spectacular view. It was certainly worth the effort to make it to the top.
Some of us were quickly ready to head back down, however.
I'm just keeping it real.
Don't worry, J-Bear settled right down as T the hike back to the car.
You can be sure I was holding tight to Buddy Bear's hand as we made our way to down.
The trees grow in curious clusters in areas that harbor just-right conditions. The trees were awe-inspiring for both the kids and the adults.
Suddenly, we arrived at the General Sherman tree. I couldn't believe I was looking at a living tree that has been alive for over 2,000 years!
We spent the night in nearby Kings Canyon Park at the John Muir Lodge. The lodge had simple, clean rooms and a restaurant, which was a blessing. As you can see, we were a pretty tired group by the time we rolled in for dinner.
In the morning, after a good night sleep, we were ready to explore again.
The kids loved the huge sugar pine pinecones that they found along the hiking paths on our way to the restaurant for breakfast.
It was hard for us to leave them and not keep them!
We also took a moment to document that the giant sequoias aren't the only large pine trees to admire.
She may be small, folks, but I think she has a spirit as tall as that tree.
After breakfast, we hiked the General Grant Trail to see the General Grant Tree, the official Christmas Tree of the U.S.
Yet again, it was an awe-inspiring hike.
Along the way to the General Grant tree, we got to walk through a fallen sequoia that has served as a hotel and saloon in the distant past.
The hollowed out, fallen giants feel like carefully carved tunnels.
We definitely left the park with a renewed appreciation for God's magnificent creation. We also left with grateful hearts to the forefathers that foresaw the need to protect these wondrous trees and their habitat. I hope my grandchildren and great-grandchildren are able to be inspired by these trees like we have been.