. So our first hike of the day we embarked upon the Crescent Meadow Trail. This was a great hike through a very wet meadow which still had quite a bit of snow. The Sequoia trees love the meadows with all the water. These trees thrive at altitudes between 5000 ft and 7500 ft. We took a side trail up the High Sierra Trail. This trail is a mecca for backpacker enthusiast like myself. I have read so many articles about hiking this trail so it was very special for me. The trail goes by Mount McKinley (71 miles away) which is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states and is located in the Sequoia National park. We of course, did not hike to Mt. McKinley we instead just hiked about 1/2 mile to Eagle's View. It was an easy climb to a ridge with breathtaking views of the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The views were extraordinary from every angle.We took several pictures and had a little picnic lunch. I kept hearing heavy foot steps and my immediate thought was bear since we were in black bear country so we did not tarry long after that. We hiked back to Crescent Meadow and continued the hike around this beautiful meadow. We hiked to Tharps Log. Hale Tharp was the "discoverer" of the Giant Forest and he settled here in the 1860's until the area was made a National Park. Tharp spent the summers here at Crescent Meadow so that his cattle could graze in the meadow. He used a fallen sequoia which had been hollowed out by a fire as a cabin. He built a small cabin in front of the tree. The inside of the tree he had a built in table, bench and bed
. There were so many sequoias in this area and once again we never grew tired of being in awe of this magnificent trees. As we were about to finish our 3.5 mile hike we can upon a little creek and of course Kevin was looking for fish. He kept saying there were fish in there and I asked him how big they were, he said about 7-8 inches. When I finally saw one it was only 2 inches in length. We then toured the Giant Tree Museum. It had a lot of information on how the Sequoia grow so big and why they live so long. We then started another hike to see the world's largest living tree. It is the General Sherman tree, this tree is thought to be between 2300 and 2700 years old. It is more than 274 feet tall (higher than a 27 story building), more than 36 feet thick and 106 feet in circumference. Its largest branch is bigger than most trees east of the Mississippi. Last year a branch fell from this mighty giant and this branch is bigger than most trees I have seen. The pavement that the branch fell on is cracked from the force of branch falling from about 150 feet high. We continued on Congress Trail for the next 3 miles and saw numerous trees. There were several large groups of trees named The Senate and The House. We have been hiking at 7000 feet most of the day and the temp was hovering around 43-45 degrees. We were cold and tired and decided to finish our day of hiking. It was once again a fantastic experience. Okay, back to the really fun stuff...The Mazda 3 we rented has an automatic sport drive transmission (can be shifted manually), this gives me the option of up and down shifting as I enter and exit corners. Sweet! The Mazda 3 was able to handle the corners surprisingly well, lucky for me it only has 148 ponies, so I couldn't get into to much trouble. With much regret, tomorrow, we leave the curvy roads and head to the coast to visit some castle. It was fun while it lasted.
As many of you know, I enjoy riding down twisty roads. Some of you know the feeling and others haven't experienced the excitement of "getting in the zone" of corners at a high rate of speed. This morning, I decided to take it easy on our way up to Sequoia, but that changed when I came up on a minivan going 15mph around 25 mph corners. I passed them and wanted to put some distance between me and them, so I hit a few chicane's and got into the rhythm. Kept it going for several miles until we came onto a construction zone, Becky was relieved. Yes it was a relief for me! Now onto the real fun.We have a full day in the Sequoia National Park which just so happens to be America's second oldest national park being establish in 1890 (The oldest is my beloved Yellowstone). The most difficult part of the day was decided which hikes we wanted to do. There are so many in this beautiful park and so little time. Once we talked with the ranger and found out that a couple of the hikes we had picked to do were snow packed, he suggested a few with little snow