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21 May 2018 / leggypeggy

Giant sequoias a great way to start our journey

Giant sequoia, Yosemite,National Park

One of about 25 mature trees in the Tuolumne Grove

Giant sequoia, Yosemite,National Park

Sequoias can live to be thousands of years old

Jordan, our guide and driver for our 15-day tour of national parks, thought the giant sequoias of Tuolumne Grove were the perfect way to start out visit to Yosemite.

And he was right.

Toulumne is one of three sequoia groves in Yosemite, and has about 25 mature trees, all with their distinctive red wood. The other groves are Mariposa (closed for restoration work until June 2018) and Merced.

We checked out a slice of a huge sequoia that was cut down many decades ago. The timeline marked on the slice shows that the tree, when felled, was more than 2000 years ago, and the bark was more than one-foot thick.

We followed the path down what was the Big Oak Flat Road. It was one of the earliest tourist routes and, even though it was treacherous, it was popular with miners, ranchers and loggers.

Back then, sequoias covered an extensive range, but today they grow only in isolated groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. To survive, the sequoias need moisture (mostly from winter snows) and periodic fires to reduce the number of competing species and open the forest canopy.

Jordan spotted two kinds of pine cones—one complete and one well munched by wildlife, probably squirrels. We even saw an ‘offending’ squirrel, as well as a deer in the distance.

We also had the chance to see the sequoia with a hole cut through the middle, and one that had fallen many decades ago.

Sequoia, Yosemite National Park

Poor John and one of three Peters on our trip stroll through the cut sequoia

Felled sequoia, Yosemite National Park

Felled sequoia. Photo by Peter Smith

In looking up information for this post, I discovered that the name sequoia was given to these trees by Austrian botanist Stephan Endlicher in 1847. He never explained why he chose that name, but the most common guess is that Endlicher, a linguist as well as a botanist, named the genus in honour of Sequoyah, the inventor of the first Cherokee writing system. I hope that’s true.

Trees in Yosemite National Park

A variety of trees grow in the Tuolumne Grove.


Leave a Comment
  1. Eliza Ayres / May 21 2018 7:29 am

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gizzylaw / May 21 2018 7:48 am

    There is so much to see in the Sierra Nevada. There are more Sequoia groves that are in the Sequoia National Monument. One is near the Tule Indian Reservation, one is just east of Camp Nelson and one is off of the Western Divide Highway near Johnsondale. The last is called Trail of 100 giants. They are wonderful creatures. Glad you could enjoy some of the really old ones.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / May 21 2018 8:07 am

      I wish we could have spent more time in the Sierra Nevada. Maybe someday. But still so pleased we saw some sequoias.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman / May 21 2018 10:26 am

    What a great experience, Peggy. I have always wanted to see those giant trees. Glad to experience their story of time gone by, told in their rings. If I was a Sequoia I would be a mere sapling hardly above the ground. A squirrel would not even look at me.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. lmo58 / May 21 2018 10:57 am

    What beautiful trees Peggy! And thanks to your photography those of us who can’t go can still enjoy them. I wish the world could see more of this America than the one that is most commonly portrayed. The tree with the cut-out and the tangled mass of the felled tree are amazing. I’d do something like that if it didn’t involved sleeping outside! I hope your hip is holding up. Best wishes to you and John. And thank you for another informative and beautifully photographed post.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / May 21 2018 12:14 pm

      You are most welcome, Louise. So glad you like the trees as much as I do. The hip is hanging in there.


  5. Sy S. / May 21 2018 11:08 am


    In your previous post, you did not mention visiting Sequoia National Park… so glad to see that you at least saw these amazingly tail and wide Sequoia trees in Yosemite Park. And a shame that many had been cut down in the past (I guess a long time ago?) what a crime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 21 2018 12:15 pm

      We’re so glad we saw them too. Extraordinary trees! And yes, a pity so many have been lost.


  6. lexklein / May 21 2018 11:34 am

    I’ve never seen these, yet I think I’ve been fascinated by them almost since childhood. Must add to ever-burgeoning list!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 21 2018 12:15 pm

      These trees have fascinated me too—mostly for their size, colour and beautiful name.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yvonne / May 21 2018 11:36 am

    Hey, thanks for thinking of us during your busy days!

    Bark a foot thick, the mind boggles.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. shawnthompsonart / May 21 2018 12:49 pm

    Nice pictures, these trees are so inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lynette d'Arty-Cross / May 21 2018 1:03 pm

    So Beautiful! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Vicki / May 21 2018 1:05 pm

    Wow, those trees are amazing….and thanks for sharing that shot of the one with the hole cut through with people – good way to show the size.

    We need to preserve these beautiful and majestic trees and wilderness areas. Governments need to take a stronger step in conservation and re-foresting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 21 2018 1:40 pm

      I agree completely, Vicki. I hope the US government takes the right steps to save and protect these magnificent trees and wilderness areas.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Brian Lageose / May 21 2018 2:36 pm

    Getting a bit off topic, but I have to share one of my favorite birthday cards. On the outside is a lovely photo of a towering forest, with the words “Birthdays always remind me of the giant redwoods on the West Coast. The way they stand tall and proud, year after year, century after century. Their majestic beauty never fails to take my breath away.”

    On the inside: “Thank you for planting them.”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. pvcann / May 21 2018 3:10 pm

    Stunning trees, such height, making everything dwarf-like, what a place to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. efge63 / May 21 2018 3:26 pm

    Good morning with an ode to the Giant Sequoia!

    Behold, the mighty Sequoia

    What secrets do you covet

    beneath the weathered bark of your skin

    3 feet thick, your outer shell aged

    3,000 years you have towered here

    How many hands touched you

    How many eyes assessed you……..


    Liked by 3 people

  14. BoomingOn / May 21 2018 3:32 pm

    Aren’t they amazing? Enjoy your visit.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Emma Cownie / May 21 2018 4:27 pm

    What fantastic trees!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. thewonderer86 / May 21 2018 4:56 pm

    Majestic trees!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. beetleypete / May 21 2018 5:18 pm

    Wonderful old trees, humbling to gaze upon. I was impressed to discover that the oak tree in our back garden is almost 300 years old. But by sequoia standards, it is still a baby.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. susan@onesmallwalk / May 22 2018 12:18 am

    Such a nice tribute to those exquisite creatures. So glad your trip is going well. As a native Californian, I feel just a touch responsible :))

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Phil Huston / May 22 2018 3:31 am

    Amazing beings, aren;t they? Find the one you can drive through. And Yosemite and Teton will take your breath away, but the drive from the coast to the valley up by Russian River, or further south in the Healdsburg/Dry Creek to coast range is pretty good. And the wine is better! Poor John and his 3 peters! There is a feeling of insignificance that accompanies the awe of the continental divide ranges. Here we are, busy, engaged, scurrying and we’re a gnat fart in the planet’s life cycle. 70 AD. Maybe from an 18 inch pine cone like my mother collected, maybe from bird poop. Regardless, that’s a loooooong time to sit and have a daily chat with the sun, shade a squirrel or a passerby. That’s us. The passers by. Any government or people who think they own the forest are arrogant beyond foolishness. The planet gets tired of us and bird poop will replace that tree long before it replaces us. Maybe the trees are the ancient aliens, and we’re just fungus!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2018 6:08 am

      You’ve got it Phil—we are a gnat fart in the planet’s life cycle. We need to remember that. And while we are remembering, we need to be making a better effort to care for the nature around us. She’ll outlive us, and with more grace and dignity too.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Osyth / May 22 2018 4:44 am

    Wow, Peggy! Sold to the Half Baked Lady! I have always wanted to visit the Sequoia groves … it was a life-long desire of my father’s and he never got the chance so I must, must, must follow in your footsteps and see and feel this place for myself. Magnificent really doesn’t cover those trees, I feel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2018 6:09 am

      Magnificent only begins to describe them. I hope you get to one of the groves soon. I think I heard them calling your name.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth / May 22 2018 7:28 am

        That’s settled … I knew I heard something distinctive and resonant in the ether …

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Sy S. / May 22 2018 6:51 am


    About several blocks from Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, is a small and beautiful park, Joyce Kilmer Park… who is famous for his Tree poem..

    Joyce Kilmer, 1886 – 1918

    I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.

    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

    A tree that may in summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;

    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.

    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    (“Only God can make a Giant Sequoia Tree.”)

    Sy S.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2018 9:59 am

      Oh wow, Sy. Thanks so much for sharing the poem here. I know it well, but never thought to add it to the post.


  22. Curt Mekemson / May 22 2018 8:34 am

    I love the big trees, both the Sequoias and the Redwoods. And the other big trees of the remaining virgin forests. And that is a fine sugar pine cone. The shells are actually soft and make fine snacking, for people as well as squirrels. You don’t want to be under a tree when a squirrel is harvesting cones, however! –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2018 10:00 am

      Thanks so much for naming the cone. We had no idea. I guess we should have tried some! 🙂


  23. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 22 2018 4:43 pm

    These amazing trees are being protected in some cases by people who know where some of the most spectacular specimens are but not revealing their locations. I used to teach art to high school kids, and each year the entire group created an artwork based on a Values Project that I selected. One year the project was, What would you choose to protect by keeping it secret? The kids produced amazing answers and artworks, and one kid worked on the idea of primeval forests. I’m so glad you had a chance to see this wonderful old community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2018 10:43 pm

      How thrilling to know that some trees are in secret locations. Same in Australia for the rare wollemi pine. Your art project theme was brilliant. Makes kids think.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. jeanleesworld / May 22 2018 8:27 pm

    I hope that’s true, too. It’s a beautiful name for a majestic tower in nature. x

    Liked by 2 people

  25. bacardi gold / May 23 2018 12:16 am

    those trees are so tall. Are those trees being used for electric post ? They’re awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Superduque777 / May 24 2018 3:24 am

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Chris Riley / May 24 2018 12:02 pm

    An amazing set of photos to show us those magnificent giants. I look forward to seeing them one day. I do hope you’re enjoying your camping trip, and not roughing it to much. I’m envious.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2018 12:24 pm

      It’s quite cold in Yellowstone tonight, so rather more roughing it than I’d hoped. Brrrrr!


  28. Molly Keen / May 25 2018 5:51 am

    HEY! I am in Oakland and have a guest room if you need a place to stay! Or if you want to grab a coffee, would love to see you. Happy adventuring!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Molly Keen / May 25 2018 5:52 am

      mollycaigner at gmail dot com shoot me a line if it interests you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 25 2018 10:47 am

        Hi Molly—we’ve moved on quickly. In Jackson Hole Wyoming now, but thanks so much for the offer. Hope all is well with you. I’ll remember you’re in Oakland the next time we head to the USA. In the meantime, you’re always welcome in Australia. Cheers.


  29. jdkupitupiarc / May 25 2018 6:22 am

    Wow incredible!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 25 2018 10:39 am

      They sure are. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.


  30. Lynz Real Cooking / May 26 2018 2:32 pm

    So amazing Peggy! Beautiful trees

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Tidbits / May 30 2018 6:33 pm

    It’s so beautiful … I’m surprised how much diversity is there in the USA … I haven’t been there but soon will plan a visit to a national park !

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2018 11:33 pm

      Excellent point—the diversity of scenery in the USA is extraordinary.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. AdventureDawgs / Jun 6 2018 8:34 am

    It’s amazing to see trees that can reach that immense size. No wonder the squirrels were devouring those cones; that’s like an entire buffet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2018 11:38 am

      Great point. That cone was probably good insurance for winter.


  33. macalder02 / Aug 21 2018 12:27 pm

    I was always struck by Yosemite Park. There is a lot of literature about him and the redwoods are the most famous for their longevity. It must have been a wonderful excursion. The photos clearly speak that it was. The shots are sensational and your story brings us closer. As if we were doing the walk with you. Greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 21 2018 11:09 pm

      So glad you stopped by. It’s my pleasure to share my travels with you.

      Liked by 1 person


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