Day 86–89: Lake Tahoe and Sequoia National Park

After our bad couchsurfing experience, we needed a day of not doing much. It makes us sound a little soft I know, but it wasn’t because we were emotionally traumatised or anything. If you’ve read the blog, you’ll know that it wasn’t that horrendous an experience and pretty much straight away we were laughing at how we’d finally lost our shitty-couchsurfing-experience virginity. Finally we had a story of our own to tell at dinner parties.

No, we needed to take a day out because we were tired. We spent hours looking for a decent motel after we decided to leave and finally found one in the early hours of the morning. The man behind the desk probably wasn’t that nice, but he honestly looked like Mother Theresa to me as I was so worried. When we got to our next AirBnB, I had an hours long bath and went to bed. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. Well nearly..

I went with Dan to see Lake Tahoe, but slept in the car while he went on a hike. This is what I saw:

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And the next bunch of photos is what Dan saw alone. I could try to justify taking that nap more, but all I will say on the subject is his two hour hike felt like five minutes to me, I fell asleep that fast. It was at this point that Dan discovered the Macro setting on our camera (allows you to take very close up shots and blurs the background to anyone who was like me before this nap/hike), so enjoy the artistic photos because we’ve gone crazy with that setting ever since.

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That evening we stayed in a town called Fresno. Fresno is not an exceptional town for anything itself (just about every Fresno resident I met told me that), but it has a great advantage of being smack-bang in the middle of a lot of cool stuff. So it does see it’s fair share of tourists. Thankfully for us, we gave Couchsurfing another go and got to see a little more. Our hosts ‘Michael’ and ‘Brittney’ (just assume from now on that I’m not using their real names as I never ask permission) let us in to stay for two nights.

The first night we were there, they took us to some cool bars. I learnt two things that night; a) Fresno is working hard to re-build their music scene that started to decline in the 90’s and b) I actually like some types of beer out there. The first time someone handed me a beer, I gave it back to them thinking that someone must have thrown up in the can. This beer was so much nicer though, they had types with blood orange in, sour beers etc. You may not think it’s a big deal, but having those kinds of beers on tap is rare in the UK!

Brittany also thoroughly entertained us that night by telling us all about the time she used to date one of the Hell’s Angels. Apparently he was a nice enough guy, but he was too much of a junkie. She also introduced us to a guy who played some of the best piano I’ve ever heard. He did ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ – very eclectic and awesome!

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The next day, we went to seek out the ‘Sequoia National Park’, which contains the worlds largest tree. Obviously it isn’t just this one tree surrounded by lots of dinky, normal sized trees, so we got to experience life as a squirrel for a day! The two main types of trees were called Redwood and Sequoia. On the way, we passed by some more beautiful scenery and a lime farm (?!).

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The first thing that dawned on us as we got out of the car and took a look around was wood really does play it’s own song.

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The next thing was the grandness of these guys. The obvious pitfall in trying to photograph something so large is trying to get the whole thing into one shot. We did our best.

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Having people nearby helped to give you guys an idea of the sheer scale of these trees. When they were first discovered, the original forest workers had to cut down and send off various samples of the trees to prove to the world that they were real. For a long time, these trees were considered to be a Californian hoax to entice people to visit.

I feel like a common thread in our rural posts is the wildlife that we see. Didn’t want to let you down did I? I know only one of these is exotic enough to not be found in most of the world, but all three were cool to look at.

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We were not yet at the sight of the largest tree, and the sun was setting on us, so we had to get a move on, which meant only stopping a couple of times to take in this scenery.

 

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Finally we got there. The Great Sherman Tree. Boy he was big!

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We tried to capture this guy from as many different angles as possible. The highest branch, using us for scale, comparing him to his neighbours, just taking a picture of the damn thing. You can see from the photos that he is never overshadowed completely, which may sound obvious, but he’s not the oldest, or the tallest, or the widest tree in the world (we saw plenty that were arguably wider). He just takes up the most volume in m3.

As impressive as we was, one day he’ll die. I wonder which one of these fellas will grow up to take his place?

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