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Mom and Dad's Visits

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S: California 2008-2011

BC: The End

FC: 2008-2011 | California Adventures

1: Our first stop was the beach so that you could put your feet into the Pacific | 2008

2: Driving to Sequoia National Park

3: When we got inside the park we kept asking each other "Do you think that's a sequoia?"

4: but when we saw our first one we didn't have to ask anymore!

6: Sequoia Groves The largest groves and biggest giant sequoias are found in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, in the southern Sierra Nevada. Many mature sequoias also exist in Yosemite’s three groves – the Mariposa Grove, the Tuolumne Grove and the Merced Grove.

8: The Biggest Living Things Although not the oldest living things – a distinction held by the bristlecone pine – giant sequoias are the largest in total volume. Outstanding individuals are 2,500 to 3,000 years old, measure up to 35 feet in diameter, and tower to heights of 250 to 300 feet about the ground. Single sequoia limbs may be larger than record-sized trees of many species. There seems to be no limits on their ability to grow. Sequoias do not die of old age. Old Sequoias die by toppling.

10: Is a Sequoia a Redwood? The giant sequoia is a member of the redwood family. It has a column-like trunk, huge stout branches, and cinnamon colored bark. Its scientific name is Sequoiadendron giganteum, commonly called giant sequoia and sometimes referred to as Sierra redwood. The taller more slender coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, has the kind of profile and branch structure associated with a conifer. It is named for the color of its heartwood, not its brownish bark. A third species, the dawn redwood, is native to China.

12: by volume

13: the biggest | tree on the planet

16: From Seeds to Saplings Giant sequoias sprout only from seeds – seeds so small and light they look like flakes of oatmeal. A one-ounce package would contain about 5,700 seeds. The delicate seeds are produced in cones that take two years to develop. Although the size and shape of a chicken’s egg, each cone contains about 200 seeds. Giant sequoias often retain the green, seedbearing cones alive on the tree for upwards of 20 years. Outside forces such as fire, insect larvae, and the Douglas squirrel or chickaree, are required to help the tree disperse its seed.

18: Our hotel in Fresno

19: We took a guided audio tour of Mariposa Grove | Yosemite National Park

21: The Maturing Sequoia Sequoia saplings grow to their maximum height within several hundred years. At this time they are conical, like an upside-down ice cream cone. The limbs often grow the entire length of the trunk. After reaching this maximum height, the trunks begin to spread outward. The bark thickens, the lower limbs fall off, and the trunk expands to form the shape of a huge column. In addition, the crown rounds and the large limbs become craggy in appearance as this forest monarch comes of age.

22: Distribution Giant sequoias occur in 75 groves scattered between 4,500 and 7,000 feet in elevation on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. Some groves contain a few trees, others several thousand. The sequoias are not isolated from other trees but grow in association with white fir, sugar pine, ponderosa pine and incense-cedar. What makes them stand out from the others in their size.

26: Fire – Rebirth and Renewal Near the base of these giants, the bark may be 12 to 18 inches thick; however, the bark on the limbs is very thin. This soft, fibrous bark is fire resistant and protects the growth layer from periodic fires ignited by lightning. Intense heat generated by the debris accumulated at the tree’s base, and the effect of repeated fires, can breach the bark. However, the tree’s water-based, tannin-rich sap also enhances the tree’s heat tolerance. Burn scars and the blackened, hollow trunks of some older yet healthy trees attest to the many fires that have burned through the grove over the centuries. Fire prepares the seed bed by burning off the duff (decomposing bark, needles and other vegetation) that accumulates on the forest floor. Burning off the duff exposes the bare mineral soil. The park routinely conducts prescribed burns in the sequoia groves to insure their perpetuation. Fires not only bare the soil but also burn off competing smaller species such as the shade-tolerant white fir.

27: C L O T H E S P I N | T R E E

30: The Other Tunnel Tree The famous Wawona Tunnel Tree fell in the harsh winter of 1968-1969. Between 1881, when it was carved, and 1968, millions of people flocked here to drive through the tree - first in buggies and eventually in cars. This second tunnel tree, the California Tree, was carved in 1895 to serve as a winter replacement for the snowed-in Wawona Tree. Despite the huge hole in its trunk and weakened condition, the California Tree is alive and growing. Damage such as this would not be allowed to occur today. However, both tunnel trees helped promote the Mariposa Grove and contributed to its inclusion in Yosemite National Park In 1906.

32: Wawona Dining Room

34: The point offers a superb view of Yosemite National Park's Yosemite Valley at an elevation of 7,214 feet.

35: Glacier Point

37: Can you see the hikers across the valley on Half Dome?

38: We stopped at Santa Monica Pier on the way home for sightseeing and lunch

40: We also checked out Balboa Park before taking you to the airport | We enjoyed Les Miserables at the open air Moonlight Amphitheater

42: 2009 | We went to San Diego Zoo

43: Then Old Town for dinner and drinks

44: Santa Monica Pier then a show taping in Hollywood | Sunset on the beach in Oceanside

46: Wild Animal Park

47: We fed Lorikeets | Cheetah!

48: We went on a safari adventure

51: And fed some hungry giraffes

52: 2010

53: We checked out the arboretum at Balboa Park and the cats at the Zoo on our way home from the airport

54: Surf Sand Sun | We got our feet wet at Carlsbad

55: There he blows! | And went Whale Watching on Hornblower Cruises

57: We enjoyed watching the dolphins play around the boat | and the sun set on San Diego

58: We took a trolley tour of San Diego

59: YUM! | And ended our tour at Extraordinary Desserts

60: 2011 We got to do some sightseeing,

61: but mostly shopped till we dropped | and found everything we needed for the wedding!

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Emily Arey
  • By: Emily A.
  • Joined: over 8 years ago
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  • Title: Mom and Dad's Visits
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  • Published: almost 8 years ago