Created September 25, 1890 because of the efforts of John Muir, Sequoia is the second-oldest United States national park. A week later, the nearby General Grant National Park was created. This was expanded into the much larger Kings Canyon National Park in 1940. Kings Canyon is a bit more isolated than Sequoia and the two parks are administered as a single unit.

The parks lie on the western side of the southern Sierra Nevada, approximately 50 miles (30 km) east of Fresno, California. Sequioa's more famous (and more traveled) attractions and campgrounds lie mostly in the northwestern part of the park:

  • First and foremost, the groves of Giant Sequoia which grow only in this region. The largest Sequoia of all, the General Sherman, is in this park; there are several groves of giant trees you can commune with, and be made to feel how puny you really are.
  • Moro Rock, a massive granite exfoliation dome affording a panoramic view;
  • Crescent Meadow, a favorite of John Muir's;
You will need to be a die-hard hiker to visit the eastern part of the park (as well as nearby Kings Canyon National Park): The two parks are bordered on the north and east by the John Muir Wilderness, part of Inyo National Forest, and on the south by Golden Trout Wilderness, part of Sequoia National Forest.
Rand McNally Road Atlas, 1999

A letter, sent to me, in a plastic cigar box, handwritten on yellow legal pad paper, along with other notes and various bits and pieces…circa 1982... by my dad. We shared a great love of nature and an affinity for collecting odd things. He lived in California at the time, I lived in Maryland. We connected through the mail. It sort of reminds me of the connections in this place.

Page 1
Hi honey;

Again – this one is a long story – but I was fascinated by the “Giant Sequoia Trees”. They deserve a lengthy description.

We took a nice 10 day automobile trip vacation through Northern California this summer. It was great. I’ll tell you about that in another letter – This is about the Sequoia National Park and the Giant Sequoia trees. The California Redwoods are taller and prettier shaped than the Sequoia, and I understand the “Tule Cypress trees" in Oaxaca Mexico are larger in girth. As a comparison here’s a sketch.

 *picture a 4x10 inch ink drawing of 3 trees  with a  
graph showing height in 50 foot increments 50’ to 350'.
Each trunk is marked by arrows illustrating the
girth. The California Redwood on the R is 350’ by 25'.
In the middle, the California Sequoia is 267’by 36’
and to the far left is a Mexican Tule Cypress
at 125’ by 50’*

Page 2
So you see the California Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, and the Mexican Tule Cypress is got the biggest girth. But the California Sequoias are the biggest living thing in the World. And the grand champion of all the Sequoias is the “General Sherman” tree. It is 275’ high and has a basal diameter of 36’. The “General Sherman” tree has a total trunk volume of over 50,000 cubic feet. The great girth of the Sequoia gives it a clear edge over the Coastal Redwoods in bulk.

You really appreciate the size of these Giant trees when you get up close to them. They only grow in a few very select regions of the High Sierra Mountains. It has something to do with the snow depths, temperature and winds.

Anyway it’s not as pretty as the redwoods but they are the champs. The biggest, and almost 3000 years old. They were a thousand years old when Christ was born.

Well you know damn well I was going to gather a few souvenirs. It was against the Park rules – not to take anything – but I filled up my shirt with twigs and cones from the “General Sherman” tree. I figured if I was caught it might as well be from the biggest daddy of them all.

Page 3
Now look at those cones – They came from the largest of all living things – and can you imagine a cone this small from the “General Sherman”. Nature operates in many strange ways.

I’ve got more of the cones and twigs. I’m going to encase them in a plastic type resin, and hang them on a gold or silver chain for all the women in the immediate Menendez family. I also plan to cut the twigs cross-wise

 *picture another ink sketch here of a twig with a 

diagonal slice cut through the center and the
word “Thus” pointing to the slice*

and polish the wood – then immerse the pieces in a plastic high gloss resin for making more decorative chains. The grain of the wood (rings) will show up nicely. These will bring you all great strength of purpose and long life.

The green moss is from the smaller pine trees around the Sequoias. For some reason the moss does not grow on the Sequoias.

Hope you enjoy this little bit of nature!


All of Manuel Menendez’s writings and notes are copyrighted and owned by his estate, of which I am a member. Full permission has been received to publish them here on e2.

More about or by Manuel Menendez can be found in 
A long term project

"Typos" are intentionally entered as written in the original.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.