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  Sequoia National Park
  September 1998

This weekend our Russian friends (Stas and Jane) from South San Francisco and us went to Sequoia National park. We left at 9am and arrived at the campsite around 1pm. When passing the entrance to the park we already witnessed the first "Giant". A huge giant sequoia with a trunk the size of a medium house and about 260 ft tall (Not as high as the Redwoods in Oregon, but close and way fatter.)
We set up camp and quickly put all our food and other smelling things (sun tan lotion, toothpaste etc.) into the bear box on the campsite carefull to not leave *any* food or things that look or smell like food in Stas's car (Noone wants a car that looks like an open tin can after all.). When everything was set and the tent was done we made some great Mexican food (Quesadillas with frech salsa) for lunch.
After eating and securing everything in the bear box again we drove 6 miles down the road to the trailhead for "Congress Trail" near the General Sherman tree. General Sherman is estimated to be about 2300-2700 years old. It has a diameter of 11.5m at the base and almost 84m tall. It's estimated to consist of about 1487 cubic meters (52500 cubic feet) of wood making it the largest living thing on earth. There are trees that are taller (The coastal Redwoods in northern California are 90m-107m tall and there is a fatter tree (The tulle in Mexico near Oaxaca has a diameter of almost 15.5m) but in volume it's the largest and boy is it impressive.
We continued walking the "Congress Trail" passing some of the other enormous tree's. Some scarred by huge firewounds of up to 3/4 of the tree's surface but these millennia old giants continue to live on and heal themselves slowly. After finishing the trail we went on a short hike to the Lincoln Tree which was on a small path. On the way back we saw a Myriam-sized (standing on it's paw he was as high as Myriam) black bear. He was about 50m away from the trail and luckily for us walking away from us. We watched him for a while with our binoculars, but Stas and I encouraged the girls to move on since we didn't really like the idea of him turning around and investigating us.
Later that day we drove on to a fallen tree called the auto log on top of which you can park your car and take pictures. Then drove through the tunnel tree another fallen giant this time with a hole carved in it that served as a car tunnel. Finally we climbed "Mour Rock", a granite dome sticking out high over the valley and admired some really impressive Yosemite-like views from there.

At night we slept a bit restless constantly expecting bears to visit us but luckily they didn't we had locked away the food very well.
The next day we went hiking up the river that we were camping next to all the way to a waterfall. On the way there we were started by some growling. Two bears on the other side of the river were having some kind of argument. We watched them for a while and continued discovering yet another (smaller) bear. We saw three or four bears there (we're not sure since they move so fast and were hiding between the bushes occasionally).
In the end we were happy to get to the waterfall. Stas took a dive in the river there and we turned back. We packed and drove home passing some other sites on the way down.(At the start we were so drunk that we drove almost a mile with binocular on the hude of the car and nobody noticed untill park ranger stop us). All in all it was a great weekend and not nearly as crowded as Yosemite (although it's later in the season so that might have some influence as well). If any of you ever come out here I definitely recommend it.
Story by Michael Brower