At the end of our day in Yosemite – and despite our hobo-hiking styles, we went to see a few giant sequoias at the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. This is not the famous sequoias park, way more South than this one (which belongs to Yosemite though). It’s still a very pretty forest with very impressive trees. I learnt something that day: sequoias are the largest living things on Earth.
We arrived at Mariposa around 6pm. No way to run around the trees or to hug them: we had to walk along a trail in order to protect the trees, which have superficial roots. It was very quiet, we were walking on some wild “rug” in the woods, the sun light giving a peace atmosphere to the place. I thought the woods would be all sequoias but no: even if there are more than 500 sequoias, other species live there too, most of them are pines, and they look pretty ridiculous though.
Now I can identify sequoias, it’s easy: sequoias really are giant, bigger than all the trees around; their thick red bark is gorgeous, and their lowest branches are actually very high already. That’s why these trees are able to survive to a forest fire: the thick bark protect the core of the tree and the fire can’t reach the vital branches. That’s one of the reason why it can live much older than other trees species (we learnt all this stuff reading signs along the trail). The forest fires are also a way to clean them, burning the weakest trees, so sequoias can extend their roots where other trees used to live. Clever! And last but not least, fires are important to develop younger sequoias, the seeds in the cones opened fall on the floor which has became fertile thanks to the fire (= slash-and-burn cultivation).
We saw unique and very impressive trees, such as the Grizzli Giant, a 2 700 years old tree (that’s the one above on the main photo). Not bad for a specie which is 200 millions years old (let’s say bravo to the sequoias).
Next post: Mono Lake…