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NateKat · 2013 · March · 31

March 31, 2013

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For Presidents’ day weekend we decided to take a trip somewhere snowy that we could do snowshoeing or cross country skiing. We decided on Sequoia National Park since it is not too far of a drive, has plowed and accessible roads, and has some great trails through the Sequoias.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t any fresh snow in the past couple weeks so skiing wasn’t really possible and snowshoes were not entirely required since we had our Microspikes.

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But there was definitely enough snow to make the trip worth it and transform the park compared to our earlier visits in the summer. On our first day we visited some of the popular sights including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree (by volume) in the world. Generally in the summer this area is mobbed with people and you have to wait a long time to get your turn with the tree. But in the winter, you can actually get a shot without anyone!

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This year we opted out of camping on the snow and got a hotel room just outside the park.  The drive in and out of the park is long and windy, but the view at sunset was worth the drive.

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On our second day we did a short hike to Tokopah Falls (3.8 miles) that we realized along the way we had actually done once before. It was a different experience in the snow though, and the falls were more impressive this time around. We also enjoyed the icicles and stream views along the hike.

Tokopah Falls

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In the afternoon we decided to do a short hike to Sunset Rock to, as you’d expect, watch the sunset.  It’s a easy 2-mile round-trip hike through the forest and then it empties out on to a giant flat rock overlooking the canyons and of course is a perfect place to watch the sunset.

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We hiked back to the car using our headlamps and then drove down the road to Round Meadow to wait for the stars to come out.  Earlier in the day we had picked out a sequoia tree that was singled out enough to make a good silhouette star photo.

(Click on the photo for full screen view, the stars are more visible)

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The next day we spent a few hours hiking the Congress Trail, which passes through some impressive sequoia groves properly named The House and Senate.

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After this trip we’ve exhausted the main park attractions and probably won’t return to this area of the park for a while.  But we do plan on doing some more exploring in the backcountry of Sequoia National Park this summer… we got permits for the classic Rae Lakes Loop for 4th of July.

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