Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Weekend in Sequoia National Park: Part 1 - Road Trip + Hiking

Ready for adventure!
1st stop: breakfast at McDs
Ezzy's 1st picnic!
Food tastes better if you walk around while eating it.
Largest Sequoia in Grant Grove.
Two peas in a pod.
I love the moss growing on the trees.
Looking up. And up. And up...
Exploring a little tunnel cave in a fallen Sequoia trunk.
So tiny by comparison.
A picture can't do these trees justice.
Ezzy loved hiking. 
He did not love standing still for pictures though.
My lil explorer.
Nestled snugly on Daddy's back like a baby koala.
Couldn't resist climbing the natural stone steps on this rock.
Family selfie time!
Ezzy is not impressed...
So pretty!
When Ezzy is old enough we're definitely going horseback riding.
Best seat in the house.
Can't beat this view.
This picture doesn't come close to showing how gorgeous that place is.
Nature makes some people contemplative.
On top of the world.
Prickly pine needles. Must. touch.
Giant trees = giant pine cones.
So many trees had little caves burned into them from fires. Apparently it takes a very hot fire to kill a Sequoia.
Tree hugger.
Can't see the top from here.
In my element.
We make our own path.
I love this series of shots:
Ezzy wobbling across a fallen tree...
...concentrating so hard...
...with only one shoe on.
Joe can't pass up any opportunity to photograph droplets on vegetation (in this case sap on a tree trunk).
Ezzy was happiest when he could walk along beside us.
Or even better, with him leading the way.
Look at that satisfied little grin! I just can't get enough.
Big Tree Trail

Ezzy loved getting his hands on every pine cone and stick he came across.
He also loved sharing the goods with us. Thanks Ez!

The largest tree in the world (by volume).
I hope everyone had a great Father's Day!

We decided last minute that we'd like to get away for Father's Day weekend. I pulled up a map of California and checked out what was within reasonable driving distance from us, and settled on Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. We booked a tent cabin in Grant Grove on Wednesday, I ordered Joe his Father's Day gift, a hiking carrier/backpack on rush delivery which arrived on Friday, and on Saturday morning we were off bright and early. 

We started loading up the car at 6am, then I woke up Ezzy and brought him straight from his bed to the car seat. He handled the transition much better than I was anticipating and was in a great mood right off the bat. We drove about an hour then stopped at McDonald's for coffee and breakfast. This particular McD's had the worst service in the world, and it took us about an hour to get our food, eat, change Ezzy, and get back on the road. Ezzy promptly fell asleep for about 2.5 hours, which made the trip there a breeze. He woke up about half an hour before we arrived, and played happily for about 25 minutes, then got fussy for the last five. Good timing, Ez. Ezzy's history with long car trips isn't great, so I wasn't looking forward to a four hour drive, but it went so much smoother than I could have hoped. 

We went straight to Grant Grove to check in, but check-in time wasn't until 4, which gave us several hours to explore. We fueled up with a picnic of sandwiches, chips, and fruit. Ezzy was too excited to begin exploring and refused to sit still to eat. Instead he grabbed Joe by the hand and pulled him around the picnic area, stopping to examine tree trunks or pick up sticks and rocks. Every now and then he'd make his way back over to the table and I'd feed him and Joe each a bite of food then they were on their way again. I told Joe he could sit down, but he pointed out that it's Ezzy's vacation too. Ezzy is one lucky boy to have such a great dad. 

After we finished eating we began the short hike to Grant Tree. This was our first time trying out the hiking carrier and Ezzy loved it. He seemed to find it relaxing because he would make little murmuring noises/tired sounds while taking in the scenery. Joe said it was pretty comfy too, and much easier than carrying Ezzy on his shoulders which he'd been doing for most of our other hikes this year. The walk to Grant Tree was pretty short/easy, so afterward we decided to branch out and explore off the beaten path. The weather was in the 70s and gorgeous and the air smelled like Christmas trees. There were so many beautiful views to take in, tree caves to explore, and rocks to climb. Eventually we came to a horse ranch, and the lady who worked there kindly pointed us in the direction of our car. 

Our next stop was supposed to be the tree tunnel, but once we got down there we found out the road was closed. We decided to hike Big Tree Trail, which is a dirt path that winds around a gorgeous little meadow. It was a flat trail, so Ezzy spent a lot of time out of his carrier pulling either Joe or me around by the hand as he found more bits of nature to add to his growing collection. I can't get over what a little boy he's become - playing in the dirt, collecting rocks, exploring. It's the cutest thing to watch.

The General Sherman Tree (the largest tree in the world!) was nearby, so we decided that would be our last stop before checking in to our cabin. There is a short paved path leading down to the tree, which is only about .4 miles. It sounded pretty easy so Joe just carried Ezzy on his shoulders. People hiking by us on their way back up kept commenting how Ezzy was leading the good life, and had things so easy. We just smiled and nodded. It's not till we hiked back up that we realized what they were talking about. That was a hard .4 miles. Imagine walking up stairs for .4 miles with your nose plugged and you'll have an idea what the hike felt like (for me). It was even harder for Joe since he was carrying Ezzy. You can see in one of the last photos that they posted a sign to warn about the thin air at that altitude. And, to be honest with you, General Sherman looked about the same size as the tree next to it, in my opinion. Apparently the judge size by volume of tree trunk, not height. 

Next up: our cabin, the lake, and the trip back home.


  1. oh man, so beautiful. And those dimples! I'd love to see it one day!! Really great father's day weekend

    1. It is gorgeous! I highly recommend a trip to all the California national parks.