On day 2, the air had cleared up considerable. There were no ash deposits on the car or anywhere else. The burning smell had also gone. This prompted the boys to consider doing the Yosemite Falls hike after all. I, on the other hand, wanted to go see the Giant Sequoia trees in the Mariposa grove. Giant Sequoias are native to the Sierra-Nevada region. I admit I did confuse them with the Redwoods, their North Californian cousins. The difference between these closely related species can be understood here. Finally it was agreed that we were starting too late to complete the Yosemite Falls hike in time, so we should do the moderate 6 mile roundtrip hike in the Mariposa grove.
Once there, we were in for a surprise. We were astonished. We knew we would be seeing huge towering trees, but we did not expect them to be this colossal! The tallest of us could go around a tree 10 times with his arms stretched out. Some of these mammoths are more than a 1000 years old, some close to 2000. The oldest known living Giant Sequoia is more than 3500 years old. It’s not in this grove though. Oh! the stories they would tell, if they could. Some of these trees, like the Faithful Couple seem like 2 trees growing next to each other that have fused together. I’m sure the view through the hollow Telescope tree on a starry night would be simply magical. The Grizzly Giant would make a very good contender for Enid Blyton’s Faraway tree.
The walking paths are easy and quite straight forward. The trees keep the paths shady and cool. Signs, however are put up only at intersections. This means you just have to trust that you are on the right path, and keep walking till the next intersection to find out if you are right or not. The animal, possible bear, dropping on the way do nothing to boost your confidence. We managed to get on a trail we didn’t intend to take. We also managed to get lost for a short while.
Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish. The place gets its name from the thousands of Monarch butterflies that come to wait out the winter here. Imagine a multitude of delicate wings adding winter colour to the grove of giants! What a sight it would would be!
The end of the hike was no less surprising. We came across a man setting up glass cats in the roots of a fallen sequoia.
There’s magic everywhere and I’m a believer!!