Winter Vacation in Sequoia National Park
DELSEY PARIS and THE UNSEASONAL have teamed
up to take a fresh look at travel destinations that go beyond expectations.
Located in the central part of California, Sequoia National Park becomes a magical place full of snow and solitude in the winter time. From December to May most winter destinations in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range are reserved for the high-adrenaline ski adventure, with buzzing mountain peaks drawing thousands of sport enthusiasts every season.In contrast, Sequoia is a well-needed antidote for travelers looking for a different experience. The remote park is a humbling place to visit. It allows visitors to reconnect with nature in the face of the tallest trees in the world— the giant sequoias.
Visiting the park in winter, when the streets are buried under a deep blanket of snow, requires patience... and snow chains. The only road into the park winds slowly up the mountain in countless serpentines.
Built in 1999 in a spectacular alpine setting at an elevation of 7,200 feet, the stunning Wuksachi Lodge awaits visitors with a roaring fireplace in the Great Lobby after the long drive up.
The lodge offers snowshoes for rent and guided snowshoe walkson Saturdays and Sundays through the dense forests of sugar pine, California incense-cedar, red fir, and ponderosa pine as well as sleds for winter play at Wolverton Meadow.
Wolverton Meadow is the highest altitude winter recreation area of all National Parks located in California and boasts world-class sledding hills covered in pristine snow. There are slow sledding trails up and down the rolling hills and steep sledding runs of all lengths next to the winding slopes under the dusted white firs.
Wolverton Meadow is also the perfect spot for building a snowman next to the icy creek at the foot of the meadow. While many snow destinations are crowded and loud, at Sequoia National Park it is not uncommon to have the sledding hills all to yourself.
Sequoia National Park is the home to General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world. Giant sequoias can live to be over 3,200 years old.
Once more widespread, today they only occur naturally in the Sierra Nevada. In the spring of 1852, the first giant sequoia — a towering 300-foot giant — was brought to the ground by gold-rush speculators and soon became known under the namesof the Discovery Tree or the Mammoth Tree. A section of its bark was sent to San Francisco and put on display with a piano inside to entertain paying visitors. It would later be sent to Broadway in New York to show off California’s treasures. Meanwhile, in California, tea dances were held on the stump of the Mammoth Tree. To host the many visitors a hotel was built at the site. Today, the giant sequoias arestill a sensation but nowadays they remain where they are. Visiting General Sherman at the Giant Forest sequoia grove is an awe inspiring experience. It soars 275 feet into the vast Sierra sky and parts the dense snowfall with its towering treetop to shelter the visitor.
The unparalleled grandeur and grace of nature’s creation is now here more palpable than at the foot of a giant sequoia.
Our favorite hiking trail past various giant sequoias is Big Tree Trail just two miles from General Sherman. In summer, the trail leads on wooden boardwalks along the edge of Round Meadow. In wintertime, the boardwalk vanishes under the deep snow and makes this trail perfect for pulling a sled. The calming effect of a winter hike in deep snow is healing and renewing.
When light, puffy snow accumulates on the trail, it acts as a sound absorber and envelops the hiker in total quiet which is like walking through a wonderland of serenity. Inside the trail, moisture builds up on the lush green meadow in summer and turns into an icy swamp in the winter that sometimes even looks like a frozen lake.
On the outside of the path, the big trees grow so close to each other that some of them have joint bases. The loop trail is only 1.4 miles long and ends at the Giant Forest Museum, which provides all the stories of the mystery and wonder surrounding the giant sequoia trees.
Images: Ger Ger Words: Tina Ger
The Unseasonal is a purpose-driven special projects magazine and alternative take on the world – a magazine about passion, travel, beauty, the change in seasons, the unusual, and the human condition. It features timeless pictorials, thoughtful stories, and unique collaborations. The Unseasonal embodies the feeling of a getaway, of slowing down, of exotic places, optimism, breathtaking dreams, unique architecture, and a lightness of being, traced with elements
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