Yosemite National Park - June 5 - 12, 2010

Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias - June 6-7

Photos © Peter Mansbach, 2010.
No commercial use without written permission.

The Wawona enclave and the Mariposa Grove are located in the southernmost corner of Yosemite National Park. We spent the first day of our trip here, an afternoon, overnight, and the next morning.

Mariposa Grove

The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias is just outside Wawona. It's a good two miles long by a mile wide, with lots of sequioas as well as other trees. The first one we saw was right next to the parking lot. In the photo (right), only about 12 ft of the trunk appears. But this is not an unusually large sequoia, and this tree did not warrant a name of its own.

We hiked the Lower Grove on our first day. Unfortunately, the tram to the Upper Grove was not running yet, so we cancelled our planned hike on the second day.

In the first group of photos below, the one on the left is (I believe) the Bachelor and Three Graces (but only one "grace" is clearly visible). The top shot on the right is the Fallen Monarch, right near the entrance to the grove. It fell about 300 years ago, but the sequoia wood is resistant to decay, and the massive trunk survives. Some kids standing next to it give a sense of scale. The picture below it shows a couple of fallen sequioas which have been burned. Sequoia wood is also resistant to fire, and the thick bark helps protect the trunk from the full intensity of fires. Jean is standing by one of these huge logs.


Amid all the brown of the tree trunks, a red snow plant provides some color.
The closeup on the right is of a different snow plant, later on our hike.

The Grizzly Giant is the oldest of the sequoias in the Mariposa Grove. It is over 1800 years old, and big! It's 210 ft tall and 25 ft in diameter (at 5 ft above the ground). The distant view on the left shows some people clustered near the base. The closer view on the right has an image of Jean superimposed, at the proper size. (Visitors are not permitted to get this close.) It's immensity is apparent by comparison.

To the left is a photo of the California Tunnel Tree. This is not the more famous Wawona Tunnel Tree, which also had a tunnel big enough to drive through. But the Wawona Tunnel Tree fell in 1969, presumably from having been weakened by the tunnel and all the vehicles driven through it. The California Tunnel Tree is now closed to vehicles, but you can still walk through it. Jean and I are standing by it (photo taken by a bystander). On the right is a zoomed-in crop of Jean and me.

The background for this page was taken from a shot of one of the sequoias on our hike.


We spent our night in Wawona at the Wawona Hotel, a charming nineteenth century accommodation. Jean loves these old buildings. Unfortunately, the day had seen temps of 94°, and the old building did not have air conditioning. Our room didn't even have cross-ventilation. So the room was hot hot hot. And it did not come with a fan. It took two hours, and several requests in person (no room phones) till we finally got a fan, and managed to get some sleep.

So the next morning we slept late. Since also the tram at the Mariposa Grove was not running, and it was getting very hot again, we decided not to do our planned hike of the Upper Grove. Instead we wandered around Wawona, and visited some reconstructed log cabins across the swollen Chilnualna Creek. Then I wandered in one direction, and Jean in another. My walk took me to a field of wildflowers, mostly lupines and poppies; some photos are below.

We then ate sandwiches by the creek, and drove to our next venue, Yosemite Valley.

California Poppies

Photos of Yosemite Valley, from the same trip
The Panorama Trail, from the same trip
More Yosemite Valley photos, from previous trips
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