Today we’re flying home to Germany after a month of information gathering, hotel testing, and photo taking in Southern Europe. While we compile it all into something coherent and legible, guest author Andrew from Cheapflights.co.uk steps in to describe the natural wonder of Giant Sequoias at one of his favorite destinations.
Experience the Sensational Magic of The Giant Sequoia
There is something particularly awe-inspiring about nature’s giants; the magnificent blue whale; the Grand Canyon or the might of the Amazon River. The spectacular Giant Sequoia species has rightfully earned a place amongst these marvels of the natural world, producing some of the tallest and the widest recorded measurements of any member of the plant kingdom. These incredible trees are famed not only for their size but also for their longevity, testament to their tenacity for survival in the face of considerable ecological threats. Their natural habitat is confined to only a small area of the United States in Sierra Nevada, California, so a visit to Kings Canyon National Park to view these impressive arboreal residents is a wonderful opportunity.
Relive History with the Giant Sequoia
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Giant Sequoia is its ability to live for millennia, with several having been dated from around 1500 BP. Through study of the tree growth rings (dendrochronology), one of which is produced each year throughout the life of the Sequoia, scientists can deduce what type of climate growth took place in, the level of rainfall and seasonal patterns. One of the oldest recorded Giant Sequoias, named General Sherman, is estimated to be over 2500 years old: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Sherman_(tree). Incredibly, this tree was already well established by the time of the Roman Invasion of England; quietly growing during the Norman Conquest, the signing of the Magna Carta, the passage of the Mayflower and many other renowned historical events.
Planning a Visit to View this Striking Species
The Kings Canyon National Park and adjoining Sequoia National Park are home to not only General Sherman, but also many other enormous Sequoias. This is one of the few remaining locations where these magnificent trees can be seen in their natural environment, as well as offering a chance to see many other examples of flora and fauna which are unique to this habitat. http://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htm provides vital and comprehensive information on what to see depending on when your visit is planned, as well as giving excellent safety and practical advice. If you are travelling independently, tours and guides of the National Park are available, as well as package deals which incorporate a visit to this sensational example of natural wilderness. Advance booking can often result in totally inexpensive flights and securing an advantageous bargain on hotel accommodation or a motorhome for the duration of your stay.
They Won’t be here for Ever; Threats to the Giant Sequoia
Sadly, nothing is immortal and the Giant Sequoia is no exception. Whilst an enormous danger to Sequoias, paradoxically they can continue to reproduce successfully only if forest fires are allowed to spontaneously clear competing vegetation. Although controlled burning has been reintroduced, its abandonment during the 19th and early 20th centuries has had a deleterious effect on the Sequoia population. Recent climate alterations have made it increasingly difficult for the Sequoia to survive. See http://e360.yale.edu/feature/giant_sequoias_face_looming_threat_from_shifting_climate/2631/ for further information on this disturbing trend. Even the toughest Sequoia can fall victim to natural disaster; a random lightning strike destroyed half of an enormous specimen called Washington, who until this accident had been a close second to General Sherman in the height rankings. Despite its colossal size and life span, the Giant Sequoia inhabits a fragile ecosystem. Destructive changes have resulted in a significant decrease in this beautiful flora, so don’t delay in making plans to see these unique and amazing titans of the natural world whilst they are still with us.
Looking for more to do during your California trip? Check out California’s Pacific Coast Highway: Dramamine Drive in Photos.