Saturday, May 19, 2012

Natural Wonders

Today's "Anything Goes" Saturday celebrates some of America's amazing natural wonders!

A visit to Sequoia National Park is an awe-inspiring experience. It's hard to believe that those gigantic trees (some well over 300 feet high) are living things many hundreds of years old. Might as well drive a car through one, right? I believe that there have been a number of "tunnel trees" over the years.

Here's a beautiful view that would be seen as you emerged from Wawona tunnel into the incredible Yosemite valley. I was just there a year or so ago, and it is stunning. Half Dome is shrouded in clouds to our left. Love the old cars and the camper!

Now we'll head over to Colorado Springs (in the state of Colorado, of course), and the "Garden of the Gods" to see Steamboat Rock (that's it on the left) and Balanced Rock (to the right). They don't let people up on Steamboat Rock anymore, which is just as well. I'd rather see it not crawling with sightseers.

And finally, here we are in Yellowstone National Park, just in time to see "Old Faithful" erupting. It still does its thing every 60 to 90 minutes (depending on how long the previous eruption was) - and in fact it does so even more frequently today than it used to.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit!


TokyoMagic! said...

Let's see, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, America The Beautiful, Nature's Wonderland, and Nature's Wonderland!

Great pics today, Major!

Nanook said...

Ahhh, what a great way to see Sequoia National Park then by motoring through it in a 1952 (maybe '53) Nash, Ambassador Custom, with two-tone paint and its integral-skirted front wheels, no less. No matter that particular design limited the turning circle and impaired tire-changing - we're talkin' about "style", here...

K. Martinez said...

WOW!! These are beautiful! There's nothin' like Vacationland USA.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

These are awesome, love the color saturation! Hey, don't forget Magic Mountain has is very own Sequoia Tunnel Tree

(link) and (link)

- OK so its steel and concrete, but still looks cool and you can walk thru it!

Ikon Wolf said...

Is the Wawona tunnel the same tunnel used in the America the Beautiful CircleVision film?

Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks TM!

Nanook, the car makes all the difference when you are driving through a tree.

K. Martinez, I wish I could have seen these places as they were 50 or 60 years ago.

VDT, I swear I don't ever remember seeing that fake Sequoia tree at Magic Mountain, though I do remember your pictures of it!

Ikon Wolf, yes, that is the same tunnel! I had to go to YouTube to make sure; in the film, Yosemite is covered in snow.

Douglas McEwan said...

I found it highly ironic that a column titled "Natural Wonders" opened with a photo of a perversion and murder of a natural wonder. Carving those revolting car tunnels through Sequoias kills them! (The Rambler is cool though, in its place, which is not inside a Sequoia.)

The last time I was in the Mariposa Grove of Sequoias in Yosemite, the car tunnel tree there that I have 8mm footage of me at age 1 toddling by with my dad's help now lies on its side in a majestic ruin, destroyed by man's thoughtless mutilation of that tree to create a "fun" attraction. You can no longer drive through the grove at all, as you should, indeed, not be allowed to. To enjoy the magnificent trees now, you have to get off your lazy butts and stroll through them on foot, enjoying their fragrance unpolluted by auto emmissions, and keep a certain short distance of maybe two yards from the actual Sequoias themselves, as humans tromping around their shallow roots also kills them. Many of those trees are 2000 years old; for them to live for two millenia only then to be murdered by man's "love" for them is an abomination.

I have been to all the places shown in this post. They are all grand. But we must understand that National Parks are not like Disneyland. They exist for preservation of natural wonders, not to be fun tourist destinations. Whenever the needs of wilderness preservation inside a National Park and tourist "fun," and worse, convenience, clash, preservation should win.

I've taken a lot of home video footage of driving about Yosemite. One my my favorites is of driving east through the Wawonna tunnel, with a music track from Conan the Barbarian playing on the car sound system, timed so that the music suddenly swells to a huge climax as we shoot out of the tunnel and are overwhelmed by the beauty of Yosemite Valley revealed. I've visted Yosemite in every season, and each season has its own unique beauty. Most see it in summer, but that is the worst time to visit. It's horribly hot and crowded, and many of the spring waterfalls have already trickled out. Spring is best. Cooler temperatures, considerably fewer people, and all the waterfalls in full flood, including little ribbon falls that are only flowing for two or three months each year.

My favorite yet most melencholy Yosemite memory is of being at Glacier Point at 1 AM under a full moon, which turns all the mountains into gleaming silver, with a handfull of friends, sitting out on Overhang Rock with its 3000 foot drop, and pouring the ashes of a close friend off the rock, to see them caught by the breeze, glittering like silver butterflies in the moonlight, and carried off up into the canyons, as per my friend's very explicit instructions. He had lived by choice for 25 years in El Portal, just outside the west gates of Yosemite, loving the park with every fiber of his being. He wanted his ashes carried on the handlebars of his motorcycle to that end at Midnight under a full moon. On August 2-3, 1993, after he'd died at age 52 of a brain tumor, we obeyed his wishes. Highly illegal, of course, but there were no park rangers at Glacier Point at 1 AM, the statute of limitations is long past now, and Ed is at one as he wished with his beloved Yosemite.

Nancy said...

that little car is so cool! Never been there but would be a great place to see

now i HAVE been to Garden of the Gods; when my brother in law was stationed in Colorado Springs in the early 80s, my then bf (now husband) and I went out for a week's stay. Colorado is so beautiful, i could have stayed forever. we put over 800 miles on our rented car that week!

beautiful pictures today, Major!!

Dave said...

Loved the Yosemite picture since I live so close by, hell I make my living because of "The Park" as we locals call it. Alas,I'm ashamed to admit, that even though I'm twelve miles from the Big Oak gate (Hwy 120) I have not been inside the park in almost two years. In my job (maintenance at an RV park with a bunch of cabins too) I meet people from literally all over the world on that "once in a lifetime" trip to see Yosemite yet I rarely go. Hard to express really, I live within the boundaries of the Stanislaus National Forest which can be spectacular in it own right. "Jaded" seems too strong a term since I really love the area. The easiest way to explain it is, after a while (almost nine years in my case), it's just home.