Sequoia and King's Canyon - A Walk Among the Grove of Giants

 This past October, I spent a rainy, foggy weekend exploring Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks for the first time. Nothing prepared me for the sheer size and scale of the sequoias that thrust impossibly toward the sky. With names like General Sherman and Grant, these ancient stoic beasts gaze down with indifference as the tiny mammals (yours truly included) scurry across the forest floor in awe.

This trip ended up being the last hurrah for my Nikon D7100 and Tokina 12-24 lens, as I sold them to make the move to a full-frame camera at last! This combo has served me well for so long and helped me produce some of my favorite images.

After an hour ascending the sickeningly long, windy road leading into the Giant Forest, the sun finally broke through enough to allow the rich colors to make themselves known.

Sequoia Trifecta - Mamiya RB67, 90mm, Kodak Ektar 100

Here we are ascending the popular Moro Rock Trail at Sequoia. The short but steep hike concludes with a sweeping panorama of the Sierra Nevadas all around.

Ascending Moro Rock - Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-24

Sometimes I find that, when hiking to a certain spot for one shot, other scenes catch my eye and inspire me to capture them. I try to remember to keep my eyes open and look around, for the best shot may be right behind me. The image below of a fallen tree framing the distant mountain range drew me in.

Framed - Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-24

We then made our way to the understated beauty that is King's Canyon National Park. Though not as famous as its nearby sibling, the variety and grandeur of the landscape should not be missed! We arrived on a cold, rainy, dreary day. However, the path to General Grant, the second-largest Sequoia in these parks, achieved an eerie beauty in the gloom. I did, unfortunately, fail to clean my lens from the constant mist and rain.

The Trail Toward General Grant - Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-24

Moody General - Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-24

After visiting the General, we made our way onto the scenic drive through the canyon. Low-lying clouds and fog enveloped the mountain peaks and lent a magical air to the place.

Middle Earth Scenic Drive - Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-24

King's Pass - Mamiya RB67, 90mm, Kodak Ektar 100

View into King's Valley - Mamiya RB67, 90mm, Ektar 100

All in all a truly unique experience. I look forward to returning to explore these expansive, lesser-visited parks and get to know them a little better. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!