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Monday, April 2, 2012

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - An Old-Growth Forest

An Old-Growth Forest

We left a beautiful Napa landscape for Yosemite (driving south!) and found ourselves in the middle of a snowstorm!


1 hour later - Yosemite Valley

We weren't sure we were going to be able to make it all the way to our hotel in a rental car with no chains on our tires.  We watched as several cars pulled over to put their chains on.  We had no idea how bad it was 30 miles ahead.  I even called the hotel who told us it was sunny and clear there.

Within 20 miles of the snowstorm, this is the landscape we saw as we got closer and closer to Yosemite.

At our hotel on the very edge of Yosemite National Park.

Because of the snowstorm, Yosemite's roads were covered in snow, so we got to see very little of the National Park.  But we did get to see a lot of the area on our own and it was absolutely beautiful.  We chose the off-season knowing there would be risks like this, but we also got to see the landscape in a completely different way.  It was really pretty.

The boys couldn't get enough of the snow.  We didn't have much this year in Indiana - I think the snow may have been their favorite part of our Yosemite stop!

As we were leaving the Yosemite valley, heading south towards the Mojave area, we saw mountains that changed from this....

...to this in 20 minutes.

Within 20 more minutes we saw more dessert like landscape.

And then back to lush.

Then snow again in the Oakhurst area.

To mostly flat areas on the way to Fresno.

Then rolling hills and mountains again.

To much drier mountains with desert-like plants.

Brennan took his camera (10th birthday gift from Grandma and Grandpa) and captured lots of scenery in Yosemite.  I think these two photos, taken 1 hour apart, tell a good story!

But, back to the Old-Growth Forest.
We had experienced the beauty of the old-growth trees at the Muir National Monument, with its beautiful coastal redwoods that range from 500-1200 years old. 

In the Yosemite area there are trees that are 2500-3000 years old!  That's certainly old-growth!

We really enjoyed getting to see Yosemite covered in snow.  It was so beautiful!  A trip in the summer would be a great chance to see all that was closed during March, though.  It's such a beautiful, and ever-changing part of the country!

From the Book:
#12 - An Old-Growth Forest
The first European settlers arrived in North America to find towering trees covering the land.  But they needed open fields for farming and wood for houses and warmth, so down went the trees - almost all of them.  Luckily, they missed a few spots, and these places, called old-growth forests, are full of ancient trees (think ents from The Lord of the Rings).  Stand under a tree as tall as a 20-story building:  you can see what the forests must have looked like in the past and you'll understand what the word majestic means.  It's truly an awesome experience that you just gotta have.

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