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Going back through my travel records, I was surprised to find that it’s been almost 20 years since I last visited Sequoia National Park — my, how time flies. I’m glad I spent a lot of time exploring this park during the 1980s and 1990s because it’s a special place.
Sequoia NP was about a 4 hour drive from our home in Southern California (under ideal traffic conditions– often more like 5 or 6 hours) and was one of the easiest to reach natural destinations near us, so we visited it almost every year. The park spans over 400,000 acres so it’s impossible to see it all. It’s part of the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve (1976).
What’s so special about the park? Lots, to be sure …
An art form I enjoy, which has seen growing popularity these past few decades, is chainsaw carvings. As the name implies, the artist uses chainsaws of different size to work a piece of dried raw wood into the final carved piece. The carvings are often large and heavy. The wood is then generally stained or painted and sealed with varnish or polyurethane to protect the art.
While driving around Lake Tahoe this past summer — a beautiful scenic drive that’s highly recommended — we came across several homes on the California side of the lake that had some fine examples of carved bears. I thought they were quite good and stopped to get some photos. Not sure if all the ones …
Situated slightly north of Lake Tahoe and a little west of Reno, I’d driven past this small city on route I-80 many times. But it was not until this past summer that I actually stopped and explored it. The day of our visit was dry and hot and the sun intense as it can only be at high altitude, the heat draining our energy; still, we took our time, stayed hydrated and enjoyed visiting Truckee.
The town’s original name was Coburn Station, after one of its saloon keepers. It was renamed ‘Truckee’ after a Paiute chief named Tru-ki-zo. This friendly chief greeted the first Europeans migrating to California and legend has it that he rode toward them yelling, “Tro-kay”, Paiute for …
Lovely Lake Tahoe! It has been described as the “gem of the Sierras” and it’s hard to argue with that.
Its statistics are impressive. Lake Tahoe is situated in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at 6,225 ft (1,897 m) and straddles the California/Nevada border. At 1,645 ft (501 m) deep, it is the second deepest lake in the United States — only Crater Lake in Oregon is deeper at 1,945 ft (593 m). It holds more water than any lake in the US, excluding the five Great Lakes.
And the scenery is spectacular. As are the hiking opportunities around the lake!
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)
While gorillas are the largest of the great apes, the western (lowland) gorillas are the smallest and least endangered of this subspecies. Native to the Congo River Basin, they live in lowland tropical and swamp forests. They are quiet, peaceful animals whose existence is threatened by deforestation and poaching.
Male gorillas are up to 1.55 meters tall and weigh up to 157 kg; females are 1.35 meters and weigh up to 80 kg. They are mainly herbivores, feasting on leaves and fruit but occasionally eating ants, worms and caterpillars. Western gorillas are nomadic, wandering in groups of up to 30 individuals in search of food. Each band is lead by a dominant “silverback” male ( so called because of a silver …
When I have free time while traveling in greater Los Angeles, I love to visit the Getty Center — well worth a full day’s visit, especially if you’ve never been there before. There’s no admission fee but you have to pay $15.00 to park for the day (so if you’re dropped off by a friend, the entire day would be a freebie). There’s a large parking structure adjoining the 405 Fwy in Sepulveda Pass and from here visitors takes a tram uphill to the Getty Center. The tram/funicular ride takes just a few minutes and when you exit you enter a beautifully crafted world of art and architecture. I enjoy walking the meticulously maintained grounds and taking in the ever …
One of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks is the Griffith Observatory, which is situated on a hill (in massive Griffith Park) overlooking the Los Angeles basin. Designed to be an observatory of the planets and stars, it’s a beautiful Art Deco structure that houses space and science exhibitions and has a great planetarium.
While smog obscures the views from the Observatory most of the time, the place is especially memorable for its great views on a clear day like the one I had the …