Yosemite was a bit of a disappointment – the beautiful waterfalls were not falling, as the rivers were too dry, and the water table is so low at the moment. The Village struck us as over the top – for a national park, there was an awful lot of commercial activity. But we found a beautiful swimming spot under the “Swinging bridge” were the kids had a great time in water that was close to freezing, and we ate lunch under the trees with all the squirrels – these ones had little white ruffs around their necks, very cute.
David had a good old chinwag with all the other fathers on the bridge while I supervised the kids in the water, and when we got together again told me he had gained directions to two sequoia groves on the road back towards our camp. So we dried the kids off, thawed them out, and headed off again.
We walked about a mile down a well defined track – Alice was very entertaining, counting steps, and marking off every 100 steps, then cheerfully informing those walking towards us “Only 365 steps to the car park!” Kept her occupied, and engaged in the walk.
When we got to the sequoia trees, they were AMAZING! So BIG, and beautiful. One had a tunnel carved through it, and people had carved their names on it, including dates that dated back to 1905. Of course, carving a bloody big tunnel through the middle of a tree had a detrimental affect on its health - the poor tree had died. Actually there were quite a few dead trees in the grove, but I guess with them being so old that is to be expected. We followed a trail with signs explaining various parts of the tree’s life cycle, and explaining the history of some of the downed trees – there was one which had fallen after a blizzard in 1985, which was hollowed out by a series of fires over its lifetime, eventually died, then remained standing for almost 100 years. When it fell, it remained essentially intact – the kids could walk on it, and climb in through the base, and walk (well, crawl really) almost the entire length. They were buzzed! But really, these trees are great. I hope they manage to preserve the groves, and that they continue to propagate and self seed.
Oh, and the way back? Well, Alice discovered that her downhill steps (down to the sequoias) were a little bit longer than her uphill steps (back to the car) and that some things are more effective as markers than others. She and Laurie happily walked the mile back to the car, finding all the markers, and counting steps all the way. Good day!