Mariposa Grove

We are driving over an hour to see some trees, not something I would ordinarily do. Especially given that we are driving through miles and miles of trees to get there! These though are Tolkein's Ents, giants as old as the hills. The mighty sequoia redwoods, some at 2700 years old must be amongst the oldest living things on this planet. That fact alone makes the drive worthwhile but on the way there is a layby with a view that leaves me stunned, Yosemite valley in all its glory, seen from 6000 feet. If you are ever in this part of the world DO NOT miss 'Tunnel View' on interstate 41 and when you are there, remember to breath, little things like that go out of your head when you stand there mesmerised.

probably the best view point in the world

Mariposa Grove has various hiking trails winding through the hills, the further and higher you go the quiter and more immpressive it becomes.

We steal ourselves for a four hour hike looping through backcountry valleys to the summit at 6800 feet and down again. Humbled by these enormous trees we feel like Lilliputians in the land of giants sharing the trails with more deer and squirrel than fellow humans.

To give you a feel for the size of these Sequoia, 'California Tree' has a tunnel cut through its trunk, a tunnel high and wide enough to allow a horse drawn stage coach to drive through it and despite this tree butchery, the giant lives on growing another foot in diameter every decade.

 one of the big trees - California Tree

The view from the summit is impressive, although Kathy's vertigo does not let her get too close to the edge it does mean she doubles her pace on the way down. Back at the car and we are tired, the ascent was 3 hours constantly up hill, the descent easier but still one and a half hours, for the second day running we have covered over 8 miles. It is though worth every step.

One last highlight on the drive home is an impromptu stop at what turns out to be ‘Valley View’, a scramble down through the bushes and balancing out onto the boulders in the river provides an excellent photo opportunity, mountains and their reflections.

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