Monday, June 22, 2009
GWE - Day 11 & 12
Thursday, June 18, 2009 (Day 11)
18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water. 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, The myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine And the box tree together, 20 That they may see and know, And consider and understand together, That the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it. -- Isaiah 41:18-20 (NKJV)
Today is a special day for me. Kathy wants to give her feet and ankles a rest. I am taking the Visalia Sequoia Shuttle into Sequoia National Park to spend an entire day hiking among the Giant Forest. The shuttle picks me up at 9:00am and drops me back about 8pm (PDT).
What a day it has been! GOD is magnified in HIS Creation everywhere you look. I hiked (a Larry modified) Trail of The Sequoias starting at the General Sherman Tree trailhead, going south toward Crescent Meadow, and then returning northward alongside Circle Meadow to the Congress Trail and the Lower Sherman Trailhead. During the hike I took a few side excursions to such points as Eagles View – an unbelievable vantage point to look eastward toward the high Sierra Nevada. The distant peaks still have snow on them! Other noteworthy locations were Tharp’s Log (a fallen Sequoia made into a cabin by an early resident of the area), Chimney Tree (someone careless with a campfire burned the inside of this Giant Sequoia – you can creep inside and look up at the sky!), Black Arch (a tunnel through a living Sequoia), Pillars of Hercules (a large arch tunnel through another living Sequoia), Giant Forest Sequoia Grove (more gigantic trees than you can take in with a single view), a potion of the High Sierra Trail, and numerous named trees on the Congress Trail. All along the hike I was serenaded by countless passerines and escorted by squirrels and chipmunks (they are in great abundance). I did see another Mule Deer (doe) today (along with the velvet antlered buck from yesterday makes two). Also saw a small mammal alongside Circle Meadow. It moved so fast I only got a glimpse and I cannot positively identify it. I believe it was a Fisher, otter, or similar. It was black with a golden “collar” and a rather long black tail. (No it was not a beaver.)
As I exited Black Arch I heard some yelling and a young couple ran up from toward the Pillars of Hercules. They breathlessly told me they had seen a black bear just down the trail. (Special Note: It is not wise to RUN at the sight of any potential predator – that usually triggers the chase instinct.) I expected at any second to see Ursus americanus charging down the trail. I calmed them down a little bit (I noticed they stood behind me) and got some particulars about where, when, and what the bear was doing. Apparently, they were watching a mule deer doe when they saw the bear within 100 meters of them. They did correctly make lots of noise, but the running was not a good idea. After a while I went on down the trail (praying and making lots of noise). I never did see the bear. Later on I learned from one of the shuttle drivers that a black bear had been seen near the General Sherman trailhead later (it was probably the same bear). A mother bear with two cubs was seen near Crescent Meadow later in the afternoon fighting with another bear (presumably a male) while her cubs had scurried up a nearby tree. According to the shuttle driver, the National Park Service estimates 400-600 black bears live in Sequoia.
My total trail mileage for the day was about 10 miles – going from about 10:00am until 4:00pm. I didn’t realize it until I caught the shuttle to Lodgepole for a late lunch but I had not stopped at all during the day! I was enthralled by the sweeping panoramas, the Giant Sequoias all around me, and the wildlife that was so abundant.
Giant Forest has a prehistoric feel. You are surrounded by gigantic trees all around – Giant Sequoia, Fir, and Pines reach high into the sky. Among these giants, small bright green meadows dot the landscape where rivulets of cold, clear water trickle down from the higher elevations to collect. The bones of fallen gigantic trees are spread throughout the landscape. Lush feather ferns grow at the base of the giants and brush against you as you hike the trail. Thick moss clings to the firs and pines – even spreading out on their branches. It does not grow on the Sequoias. Walking here one almost expects to see some immense dinosaur around the next bend. The only giants here though are the trees. The Giant Sequoias stand as sentinels for the forest and the Sierra Nevada. John Muir called them nobler trees among a noble forest. I could not agree more.
Friday, June 19, 2009 (Day 12)
Reading from John 1 this morning. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:3-4 (NKJV)
JESUS CHRIST, the Light of the World, is the Creator of all seen and unseen things. That includes the Giant Sequoias as well as you and me, friend.
The plan for today is to pack up, hitch up, and move out eastward toward Zion National Park.
Travelling across the Mojave Desert is an adventure. Temperatures soared to 107 degrees F. There were quite a few vehicles that were stranded alongside the road (overheated I presume). The California Highway Patrol was busy on both sides of I-15 with stranded motorists.
I was tired of driving by 8:00pm (Central Time) and we started looking for a place to camp. Guess were we stopped? Las Vegas Oasis RV Campground off I-15 is our place of refuge for the night. I am hard-pressed to call this a campground though. They have 701 campsites with paved and landscaped lots, 24-hour security patrol, swimming pool, restaurant, dance hall, and a guest center that would rival most hotels! Guess this is the norm for Vegas. Most of the “campers” here are in very large RV motorhomes. I saw one other pop-up in our area of the park. We are in Marakesh, lot 128.
It’s on to Zion National Park tomorrow (early).