The Fall Quarter has been busy. In the middle of the chaos Pam and I spent a short weekend camping with friends. We went to Sequoia National Forest. It still amazes me that we have such diversity here. The coast, the desert, and the mountains all close together. We camped near 5,000 ft of elevation in a small campground.
On Saturday I did some work in the morning, then we set out on a hike. It was a beautiful hike through redwood groves and springs. We gained a couple thousand feet of elevation, ending up near 7,000 ft. There were many dead and dying trees in the forest, a testament to how stressful this summer has been. It was easy to understand why campfires are banned.
But all the springs and plant diversity made it possible to get caught up in a small piece of the forest. The world in view looked lush and healthy. The drought seemed far away as water bubbled over rocks and green abounded.
In the forest it was possible to forget we were in a major drought (for a time).
I spent some time admiring the Kellogg oaks (Quercus kelloggii), which is a species I am not very familiar with. I collected a few leaves, and at the end of the day pressed them in my car owner’s manual. (That is the sort of thing horticulturists do.)
A Kellogg oak seedling along the trail.
Early in the hike we saw large patches of mountain misery (Chamaebatia foliolosa). While it might not make a very good food source for wildlife, it is pretty cool to look at.
Mountain misery looking pretty.
I lingered in the back of the group, scurrying around taking pictures.
The hiking party in action.
The sheer size of the trees was captivating. Such amazing structures.
The large pines, firs, and redwoods were spectacular.
The trees made humans look small.
Posing with a large strobilus (I think a sugar pine cone).
It was fun to spend some time in the national forest, which is different from the national park part of the Sierra Nevada. Both are wonderful in their own way. I suspect we’ll be returning to the national forest in the future–there are many trails left to explore and sights to see.