Sequoia National Park, man. That place is no joke.
We arrived in Three Rivers, Calif., after a four-hour drive from San Francisco. The road was long, the sun scalding . . . the day young. After learning we couldn’t check into our hotel quite yet, we set off for the park in search of the famed giant trees.
We made it.
There’s a road in there.
I have exactly one photo from our time climbing switchbacks up mountains in Sequoia — mostly because I’ve never been so terrified in a car in my life. My dad was behind the wheel with Mom beside him, and Spencer and I were clinging to life (and the door handles) in the back.
I should note that Dad is a very good and cautious driver (as evidenced that I’m alive to write this post), but there was only so much one could do on those treacherous roads. Families seemed to be happily sailing along next to us, and all I could think about were the unbelievable drops immediately to our left and right. Drops off a cliff. Into the abyss.
Despite the fact that I’m a well-known scaredy-cat, I vouch you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t a little shaky driving through Sequoia. It’s awe-inspiring, yes — unbelievable, crazy, gorgeous. Brother (or sister?) to the mighty Yosemite.
But it’s scary as hell, too, and there’s just no way around that.
Whether through lack of research or information ahead of time, we had no idea the hour-long drive from the park entrance to the grove of Giant Sequoias was going to be filled with endless hairpin turns. I’m talking serious, no-joke, terrifying angles — many without guard rails — as we climbed into the sky. The temperature was a good 30 degrees cooler at the apex than it was in Three Rivers, where it was breath-stealing hot.
That was one good thing.
As we made our way up, I had to roll my window down because I was pretty sure the motion sickness was going to result in actual sickness . . . but that meant not even a plate of glass was separating me from certain death should one minor thing go wrong.
The views were pretty spectacular, though.
Pretty enough to make up for a near-death experience? I guess so. We did eventually get to the sequoias, where we paused to breathe in that cool, clean, crisp mountain air. But this was only after one member of our party did become ill and every member of our party came down with the jitters.
And we almost ran out of gas.
On the side of a mountain.
Without a shoulder.
And no cell phone service for miles and miles.
But the trees? The trees were nice. Impressive. Tall.
And we got a stamp for our crisp new passport book, which makes me feel like a giddy 8-year-old collecting neon Lisa Frank stickers all over again.
I’m kind of obsessed with it.
And by “kind of,” I mean I now carry it around with me “just in case.” Just in case I happen upon a national park during my work day in suburbia.
It’s the little things.
And I’m just thankful to be alive, so #stampsforeveryone.
Sequoia, you did not defeat us!
(But I’m never going back there.)
(I have white hair now.)