For the adventurous at heart and the lover of the outdoors!
Sequoia National Park, California, United States
Having been a true California native born in the mountain areas of San Diego County, I fell in love with nature and exploring the wilderness areas of my youth. My teenage sons however, were born in the busy city of Los Angeles, and therefore missed the opportunities to experience the many wonders of California beyond the synthetic landscapes and surrounding high desert patches that connect the urban sprawl, or the overpopulated beaches that offered little more than the jewel toned sunsets as evidence of the over inhabitation's contribution of smog. The first destination that offers inspiration and wonder is Sequoia National Park. The lengthy car ride offered many opportunities to revel in the human contributions that make California great. From the great aqueducts, bridges, and roadways that traverse treacherous mountain passes, to the food belt of what is known as "The Grape Vine", there are many educational stops with the added bonus of tasteful offerings from the local farm stands that dot the highways. The terrain more than hints at the great versatility and diversity not only of the land, but of the inhabitants as well. Cultural diversity and history abounds with more than a few reminders of the lengthy rail transport of a bygone era that is still heavily relied upon in modern times. As altitude changes, in addition to climate and air quality improvements, there are all types of visual rewards that begin to dot the topography in the form of great trees of antiquity. From many high vantage points there are stark reminders of how the environment has changed with comparing the flicker of community lights in the gradually disappearing distance, to the austere and pristine wilderness of the mountain scape. Several "look-out" and "turn-out" areas provide an alluring temptation to walk-about and revel in fascination at the otherworldly environment of forest meets heaven. There are several park areas that provide parking, trail maps, supplies, and advice for exploration. Of these areas, the second American National park established in 1890 the Sequoia National Park and the third National Park General Grant National Park, offer the easiest to follow trails with the visual thrills of the Sierra Nevadas. For those that have neglected to make camping reservations far in advance there are limited opportunities to stay within the boundaries of the actual park; however, there are several family farms turn bed and breakfasts that cater to the impulsive traveler.
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