Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Big Sur and Sequoia


Big Sur

As we drove south from San Francisco, our travels took us through Carmel (where Clint Eastwood served as mayor 1986-88) and along Big Sur. According to Wikipedia, the name "Big Sur" comes from the Spanish "el sur grande," meaning "the big south." We made stops at Andrew Molera and Julia Pfieffer Burns State Parks, camping at San Simeon, just north of Cambria, the next day cutting east to Sequoia National Park.

At Sequoia National Park, we made the obligatory visit to the unfortunately named "General Sherman," billed as the largest tree in the world in volume if not in girth or height. Most of the sequoias show evidence of past lightning or fire, not surprising for trees that have been around over 3000 years. Despite the scars, their thick bark and durable constitution makes them impervious to fire damage. John Muir, who named many of these trees, wrote the following in his journal in 1875:
The sequoias are the most venerable-looking of all the Sierra giants, standing erect and true, in poise so perfect they seem to make no effort--their strength so perfect it is invisible. Trees weighing one thousand tons are yet to all appearance imponderable as clouds, as the light which clothes them, so fine is their beauty.... They are antediluvian monuments, through which we gaze in contemplation as through windows into the deeps of primeval time.
Muir was given to hyperbolic statements about natural phenomena, but the sequoias deserve all the hyperbole they get.

For additional trip photos see my Flickr page.

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