Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Redwoods, Black Bears, & Bee Stings

We awoke in our tent at Sequoia National Park, surrounded by the canopy of the redwoods and the rustling of the Kaweah River. Perfectly peaceful and surreal. I didn't want to leave the tent, but the mountains were calling us so we headed off to hike the Congress Trail in The Giant Forest. 

This hike boasts some of the largest trees in the world including General Sherman and The President. Visiting the sequoias was our initial motivation for the trip to California, so imagine my dismay when only a few feet into the trail I started getting stung by bees. And not just a few bees, but several as in 20ish.

I've never been stung before and I have to say that it was beyond painful. I'm not at all ashamed to say that I cried. They attacked my entire body and I just felt this searing pain all over. Hubby was so sweet, he drove us to the Lodge at lighting speed to see a medic (thankfully I'm not allergic). After slathering me in the most soothing, yet most disgusting smelling cream ever, hubby picked up some of my favorite snacks and assured me that we could spend the day resting in the tent. But we only had one day in Sequoia so I refused to let some bees ruin my travels. I put on some more cream, winced a little, and headed back to the Congress Trail. And boy am I glad that I did. 

General Sherman: Largest Tree in the World

Why yes, yes I will take the cheesiest photo ever and pose with General Sherman and my National Geographic. 

What amazes me more than anything about these Giant Sequoias is their ability to withstand the elements. Because of their thick bark, they are able to combat the forest fires that clean out the rest of the foliage. While this tree appears pretty charred, it's inner core was fairly protected so it is alive and well. That's how these beauties get to be thousands of years old.  

The President: 2nd Largest Tree in the World 

After we saw General Sherman, the Congress trail thinned out quite a bit. Surprisingly, many people don't make the full hike. This worked out in our favor because in the serenity and quiet of the forest, we made a new friend...a black bear. 

He was so close to us, just off the trail. We paused for a few minutes and quietly watched him, while snapping as many pictures as we could. Eventually, he went right across the trail and into the woods. It was wonderful being so near to him. Definitely worth a few bee stings in my opinion ;)

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