The Sequoia National Forest is home to the world’s largest trees. It has the greatest concentration of giant sequoia groves anywhere in the planet! Protected within the Giant Sequoia National Monument, these groves and the areas around them are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. I was in California for a conference and I rented a car for the weekend to discover the surroundings of Los Angeles.
Renting From Alamo
I was in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach talking to a contact when he told me that he rented a Mustang for the following week in Florida. He gave me the price and it was cheaper than I expected so I decided to rent one too! I quickly went on the internet there and he showed me the site: Alamo. They had a special offer that weekend as well so I made a booking for three days. I rented this beauty here, a silver 2014 Mustang.
Once the conference finished I headed out to the airport to pick it up. As soon as I had the keys I drove up to Mount Wilson to see LA from above. Unfortunately I got there quite late so it was already dark but the view was still stunning! The city was like a sea of lights and the heatwaves made it look like the city lights flowed like waves. I can’t describe the view better than this: lights as far as the eye can see.
By this time it was around midnight and I decided to head back to LA for the night. I booked a room in the Historic Mayfair for that evening. The room was not exactly amazing but they shot many famous movies in the lobby which I wanted to see. As I was driving down from Mount Wilson I was dozing off so I pulled over and slept a little by the side of the road. I got back to the hotel around 3AM, slept a little and spent the morning writing up a sulphur and sulphuric acid report! I left the hotel around mid-day to drive to the Sequoia National Forest.
Driving to the Sequoia National Forest
I drove north on I-5 and on Highway 99. At Bakersfield I turned right onto CR-178 and then at Lake Isabella left onto CR-155. The drive was breathtaking in many ways. Once I left the urban sprawl of LA came the wide open spaces on either side of the freeway. It was quite dry that year and the scenery looked more like a parched desert than anything else. After abot an hour and a half of driving came a forest of oil wells which I found quite fascinating as I never saw anything like that before.
Bakersfield wasn’t particularly spectacular so I spent no time there, just drove through. One of the most amazing parts of the journey began when I entered the Kern Canyon Road. The best way to describe it is this: imagine a huge area with rolling hills, not very high with massive boulders scattered around every now and then. My immediate impression was that those big rocks were left there by some giants throwing things at each other after a brawl. It was a sunny day so I rolled the windows down and enjoyed as the spring breeze caressed my face and arms!
My destination for the day was the 100 Giants Trail. Once past Lake Isabella the hills became higher and the trees taller. I drove at a leisurely pace as the curves were quite sharp in some places. I didn’t mind the slow pace: the views were absolutely stunning!
The 100 Giants Trail
The M-90 road that leads to the trail is only seasonal and closes between November-May but opens earlier if the weather permits. I got very lucky as the park service opened it that very day and I was there in April!
If you’ve never seen giant sequoia trees before it is hard to describe the sight. Imagine seeing a medium size church tower: the tower’s thickness is the girth of the tree! Now take a 100 meter tall skyscraper and you’ve got a sequoia tree. Some of them were so large I could fit my Mustang in them twice at the base. I still find it incredible that those greedy bastard property developers had no qualms about clearing off thousands of acres of these trees!
I spent half the afternoon at the forest then it was time to eat something. There was one restaurant along M-90 and it was also the best in the park! The owner told me they live there winter and summer and that winter in 2014 was probably the warmest he could remember. Snowfall was also meagre and instead of the usual 10-15 meters that winter only about 6 meters fell! Shocking!
Once I finished my burger I headed down to the coast but that is another story!
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