After finishing our tour of Crystal Cave (Read about that blog here!), and eating lunch (should I mention that I stumbled upon a bee hive, and got stung three times? Ah, that will be a good story to tell one day. haha. My fault for wandering off trail.) We set out to enjoy the Sequoias. We decided to take Congress Trail, which is located near the General Sherman Tree Which we had seen the previous day (Want to read about that, too? Click here). The trail was an easy walk, we took our time and spent the rest of the day amongst these trees.
I really enjoyed how the shadows and burns of the sequoias played a large part in the beauty of the trees, as if the dark shadows and burns just made you appreciate the depth of color of the bright red bark.
On this trail we truly got to see what the forest fires do to these trees. Oddly enough though, the fires are necessary for their survival. By burning the accumulating down branches, litter, and duff, the fires allow the seeds to reach mineral soil. And in heating the soil, the fire changes the texture of the soil in a way which allows the seeds to be covered by a few millimeters of it.
Timing of the burn is important, though! One experimental burn took place in August, 1969. Allowing two months of seed fall before winter. On plot #3, which was burnt the hottest, more than 40,000 sequoia seedlings per acre were found, while on plots 1 and 2 which were lighter burned, about only 13,000 per acre germinated. The three burnt plots averaged in nearly 22,000 sequoia seedlings per acre.
Not a single sequoia seedling was found on the unburned control plot.
I had expected the sequoias to have a smooth texture, like most trees do. Perhaps an even harder bark to resist catching fire. To my astonishment, they have a surprisingly fibrous, dry, hair-like bark. Something akin to a coconut’s fibrous layer.
And somehow this bark prevents the trees from burning down. The scars they do receive from the fires are impressive. Some trees are hollow, but still live and grow. You could walk right through this tree, which I did, and got this shot:
The inside had been hollowed out, perfect for making a tunnel.
And from the other side the scar slid up the tree. As if this tree’s tunnel and scars weren’t enough, it was also growing upon some stones!
What an interesting tree. This next one had a peep hole. See that log in the bottom right corner? That’s a regular tree. These trees were all massive.
Along the way, we spotted this man taking a nap a little ways off the path. He looked so comfortable, and peaceful. I can only imagine what delightful rest the forest would offer. I do find it hard to believe that he looks so tranquil when he’s using a stone as a pillow. I thought I was a deep sleeper!
And with that we wrapped up Congress Trail.
My friend who is very fond of rivers spotted part of this one from the road. It was really breath taking.
The water was beautifully clear. I decided to dunk my feet in, and watched small fish congregate around my toes.
The small town of Exeter lays outside of Sequoia. It’s a really cute quaint town. I absolutely enjoyed walking through it, we decided to stop by Sunday before leaving. If you want to enjoy the shops, you’d be better off going on saturday. Everything closes on sunday. I shaped a few photos I wanted to share.
I loved all the murals around this little town.
That concludes our Sequoia trip!
Tell me in the comments below what’s your favorite town to have visited. Have you ever seen the sequoias with their great scars?