The Land of Giants

The four hour drive from Los Angeles northeast to Sequoia National Park is for the most part quite unspectacular. So much so, that when we arrived at the entrance gate to the park, I was not quite sure what to expect. I definitely did not expect the incredible fairytale land, we found.... Welcome to Sequoia National Park located in the Sierra Nevada range of California.

The weather oscillated between rain and cloudy skies for most of the day. As we climbed the mountains, the roads became more twisted, the atmosphere more misty and foggy and the air thinner as we approached 7000 ft above sea level. And then, we saw them.

...A host of towering trees that seemed to touch the clouds and with footprints so large we could place a roomy house within them.(I have included a picture of myself for scale. Look closely at the bottom of the image!)

These trees are the world's largest trees. An average-sized sequoia tree weighs more than 2 fully loaded jumbo jet planes.
Most of Giant Sequoia redwood trees that we saw are somewhere in between 2,000 and 4,000 years old. According to scientists, the Giant Sequoia were once found on more continents in the world, however when the glaciers finally melted at the end of the last Ice Age, 11,000 years ago, the surviving trees were only to be found in California.They owe their longevity to their thick bark, that helps them resist disease. Unlike most trees, fire helps them regenerate and allows their seedlings to take hold. When injured they simply heal themselves and keep growing.
Fallen Giants
Despite the size of these trees, their roots tend to be rather shallow, and sometimes, quite suddenly they can lose their hold in the ground and fall over. However, given their size and their bark (which can be over two feet thick), these trees can take centuries to fully decay.
The roots of the tree and me.

Signs of human intervention
(for the millions of visitors who now frequent the park yearly)

On our way out of the park...
and back to reality.

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