Good Friday, April 3rd ~ Last day inside Yosemite National Park
Our final night inside Yosemite National Park was spent at the Wawona Hotel. Located outside of the Village, but still within the park boundaries, this historical lodging has a few quirks, but the ambiance and location more than make up for them.
For the second time ever, we booked a room with a shared bathroom. Kind of seems to be a theme here at Yosemite. This Victorian era hotel is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Our destination today is Mariposa Grove to see the Giant Sequoia’s, about a 10 minute drive from here. We had been warned to arrive early in the day as the parking lot fills up. Thinking we had allowed plenty of time, we were disappointed to arrive at the base of the mountain and get turned around by rangers.
Driving back to the hotel, we parked in front of the Pioneer History Center, and took the free shuttle bus to the grove. It probably would have been smarter to have done this initially anyway.
We decided to take a 1-2 hour hike up to see The Bachelor and Three Graces, Grizzly Giant, and the California Tunnel Tree, then return via the dirt Outer Loop Trail.
During the summer, the tram will continue further up the mountain, but this time of the year it let us out at the lower bus lot near the Fallen Monarch.
The first part of our walk was on a paved path. It was crowded, and I felt irritated by the noise and confusion. Children were running, screaming, beating the trees with a stick.
OMG, I have turned into THAT CRANKY OLD WOMAN!
Honestly, I do love children and am thankful that they were getting to enjoy the great outdoors as well. I was just having a momentary lapse.
OK, breathe deeply…
Hang back, let the crowds pass on by.
I wanted to embrace these magnificent trees in silence. I did not want to share this moment with “others”. I selfishly wanted it all to myself.
“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
There is something wonderful about walking past these giant trees. I have long considered the forest my church, and among these majestic beauties, I feel as though I am in a natural cathedral.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir
“The Grizzly Giant is a giant sequoia in Mariposa Grove, located in Yosemite National Park. The tree has been measured many times, most recently in 1990 by Wendell Flint. It has a volume of 34,005 cubic feet (962.9 m3), making it the 25th largest giant sequoia living today.” ~ Wikipedia
Probably one of the most popular things to see is the California Tunnel Tree. This is actually the second one within this grove that had its heart cut out so that vehicles could pass through, making it a tourist attraction.
The first one has now died and toppled over. It broke my heart…
The good news was that once we passed this spot we turned left toward the dirt path which makes up the Outer Loop Trail. Very few went this direction, so we had the forest mostly to ourselves. Peaceful and quiet.
Ahhhh, now I’m a happy camper…
As enormous as these trees are, their pine cones are quite small – about the size of an egg. We learned that fire can be a friend to the forest. The sequoia has a very dense bark, that protects the tree itself, but the heat causes the pine cones to dry out, open and drop their seeds to start the next generation in motion.
Also this time of the year, the rare red Snow Flower can be found popping up. We were so excited to find dozens of them spread throughout the grove.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for my love of nature and for the calm I feel when amongst the trees. But just like being in a place of worship, I prefer being there alone, or with dear ones who can also appreciate the moment. They strengthen me, and give me comfort.
How about you? Do you find comfort and solace amongst the mountains or trees? Our best friends love the beach. Which do you prefer?
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