A trip into Yosemite means a chance to see some big trees. I had originally thought about a trip to Mariposa Grove like the one I posted about here. However, coming in over the Tioga Pass makes for a long trip to get to Mariposa so, instead, we decided to head to the Tuolumne Grove instead. While perhaps not as extensive, it is still a nice spot and, courtesy of being a bit more out of the way and involving a walk of about a mile, it is a lot less busy.
The trees are always cool to see. I always find it funny how the large firs start to make you wonder whether they are the big trees until you do see a sequoia at which point you realize just how big the big guys are. One other feature of Tuolumne Grove is the tree with the road cut through it. I should point out that this sort of vandalism is appalling. The idea of hacking out the bottom of a huge tree so people can go through it is really nuts. However, now that it is done, you do see something quite unusual. I hope lessons have been learned though.
The view as you look up is one of the fun things about trees that are tall and very straight. They converge above you in a way that is quite dramatic.
Scale is something that is always hard to portray in photos. People are a good way of getting some perspective on this. Most of the time you try and get the shots with no one there. Best to try both and then go with which one works best. Of course, you can include your wife and just get a shot that you like anyway!
The last time I was in Yosemite, it had just snowed and so the access to Mariposa Grove was cut off. It is a shame since visiting the groves of sequoias is one of the high points for me. The redwoods at the coast are impressive, certainly, but they don’t have the massiveness that the inland relatives have. Previously I have taken the tram ride around the grove so this time I decided to walk it. It was a pleasant temperature but the altitude is a bit of a factor so there were times when I was wondering whether my plan was so clever.
However, the nice thing about the grove is that you are heading downhill when you are on the way back and suddenly everything seems a lot easier. Walking does give a great way to experience the whole place at your own pace as well as see some areas that you wouldn’t see on the tram. You also get some exercise!
The lower part of the grove has some big trees but not as many as the upper grove. Getting up there allows you to be surrounded by some enormous living things. Every once in a while, I had to look at a normal tree (big by most standards) to remind myself just how much bigger the sequoias are. They are vast! Again, this is a tricky thing to accurately portray in photographs. However, sometimes you just have to enjoy the prettiness of it all. Having something in to scale it every once in a while helps too of course.