2013 trip, West Coast

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California

I love giant Sequoias! We learned the difference between coastal Redwoods (that we’d already seen) and the more rare giant Sequoias: while Redwoods are much taller than Sequoias, I love the unique organic shapes that Sequoias take on at the top—it makes them completely recognizable from miles away.

Muir Grove is my new favorite hike! We encountered TWO bears and zero people on the 2 mile hike to the grove. This is how the first bear encounter went:

Halfway to the grove, we come across a spectacular view off of a rocky cliff. Clyde says “Let’s go check out the view” and starts walking out on the big rock. I’m about 50 feet behind him when I spot a black bear come around a blind corner to eat some berries on the trail—the bear was 50 feet away and scared the heck out of me just as much as I scared the heck out of it. Apparently I “nonchalantly” said “Clyde there’s a bear.” He didn’t believe me—he thought I was crying wolf and he just said “okay.” I cringe as I take my eyes off the bear staring at me from 50 feet away to look at Clyde and say “Why aren’t you getting the bear spray out of your bag?” Clyde shrugs and says “I don’t even see a bear.” Then I started walking towards Clyde as the bear sort of scampered away in the woods. The bear then stopped in a small clearing and stared both of us down for awhile, but he was at a much more comfortable distance by now. Clyde calmly says “Oh, there’s the bear.”

Needless to say, we made a LOT of noise on the rest of the hike. It was still early-ish in the morning when bears are more active, and we were definitely the first (and only) ones out on the semi-remote trail. We saw a second bear as we reached the grove, but he was far away, we didn’t scare him, and he just ran away. Seeing bears on trails is pretty cool, but it’s not fun to scare them so close.

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