Sequoia National Park, located just 45 miles east of Visalia, California provides a multitude of attractions. Today’s article is about the trip to Moro Rock.
We traveled to Sequoia National Park on a perfect day in the central valley of California. In early November, temperatures dip into the low to mid 40’s during the night time and usually the 60’s during the day. Today it was close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the valley. In the mountains, it was around 50 degrees, which was quite pleasant.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK – ENTRANCE
Just a forty-five minute drive east from Visalia, California, we ascended the grade incline of CA Route 198 to the park entrance. We had picked an incredibly beautiful, sunlit day to visit the park. There was almost no traffic and all of whom we did meet, especially the park rangers were all friendly, outspoken, and cordial.
There are so many different attractions at the Sequoia National Park this author recommends picking only one or two at a time to enhance the enjoyment of the experience in nature.
Depending on one’s travel schedule and how much time may be available, it is recommended to visit the link mentioned above and plan the trip carefully. From May through September of each year expect high visitor turnout to the park.
From Visalia on east there are various places to stay. There are also many restaurants to visit along the way. In fact, there are hotels located in the park, as well.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK VISTA POINTS
Needless to say, there are so many vista points and lay-by’s along the way only a couple will be reviewed in this article for brevity. Do pick a clear day to visit if picture-taking is one of your intentions during the visit. Depending on weather there can be many days where there is haze. Especially, as afternoon and early evening approaches one may find photo sessions to not be very effective. Consequently, earlier in the morning after the sun is over the mountains is the best time to take videos and photo snapshots.
If one has the time, pick one day to just drive completely through the park northward. Some of the roads do get very winding so make sure the driver is able to handle the task. From the CA Route 198 entrance in Tulare County, the road will finally head north until one reaches the park end in Fresno County at Kings Canyon National Park.
For those who can plan for a longer stay at the park, there are vacation rentals where one may stay, as well. Make reservations well in advance to preclude unfortunate outcomes.
MORO ROCK APPROACH
As we passed the welcome center to the park, we made the right turn and headed for Moro Rock. The road and the incline became more of an issue. At some points the road had to wind past ancient sequoias, as well as, accommodate some rocky outcroppings. The trees and views were constantly alluring by nature. In a couple of places where curves were rather extreme, one had to take it very slow because the width of the road could barely allow two automobiles to pass, much less any larger vehicles.
Finally, we made it to the parking area. Of course, the rest of the trip was to be made on foot. Certainly, it must be noted that anyone with any respiratory, heart or mobility issues would not be able to continue farther.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK – MORO ROCK
Once we parked the vehicle, we looked to the right. Then, we looked up. And up. And up. We were going to climb that thing? Well, it is why we came. It was time to conquer. At the base of the escarpment there were ample signs in sealed displays to educate one on the discovery and history of Moro Rock. Some of it is provided here and in some image captions. It was discovered in 1858. Explorer Hale Tharp, with the help of two native Americans made the official discovery.
Before we started the climb, we did some reading from the displays provided. The history is amazing. In addition, how one who lives nearby can not be moved or at least interested in Sequoia National Park and its attractions.
Notably, above and below are some of the amazing photos of the incredible climb. Yes, the weather can be quite a factor, as mentioned earlier. Notably, one must always be prepared. Always, dress for it and be sure to carry enough water for the adventure.
THE CLIMB CONTINUES
No, the climb is not a short nor easy one for many to endure. Do pay attention to any health issues. At a few points, there are places to catch one’s breath. But, there are not many. This author did notice a few who may had been pushing it.
Finally, we were getting close to the summit, but not yet.
MORO ROCK SUMMIT – WE THOUGHT?
The arduous trek upward continued, but, without the determination on our parts, we struck forward with a vengeance. We would not be denied our resolve at summit success.
No way. Every time we thought we had made it, we were thwarted. Period. There was not way to see how far we had climbed the escarpment. But, we would soon have our answer.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK EXTREME CLIMB
Truly, there was not way to know our degree of advancement up this granite rock until we got there. No way.
MORO ROCK SUMMIT AT SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK
So, we finally made it. And, with only a couple of stops along the way to catch our breaths, the view was incredible!
We took a long look around. It was majestic beauty in the finest! At this altitude one may not notice the air was thinner, but when moving around more than usual, especially climbing, one can tell the difference.
SUMMIT MEETINGS AND VISITS
While at the summit, we had the opportunity to meet other visitors from other lands. Notably, we met two outstanding couples. One couple hailed from Israel and the other from Italy. We helped each other take pictures instead of resorting to selfies.
The hobnobbing and taking pictures of such scenic views of breathtaking terrain was really worth the trip. But, then there was the trip back down to the parking area. Rest assured, it was much easier than the ascent.
THE DESCENT FROM MORO ROCK SUMMIT
The trip back to the Sequoia National Park parking area was actually a welcome relief. It seemed like it took no time at all to return. But, it was still important to remember to be careful. One careless trip or misstep could be catastrophic.
Once back at the parking area we bad a farewell to our new international friends. They were on whirlwind trips to see as much of the United States as possible. Both couples were cramming as much in as possible. Example: One couple was heading from Sequoia National Park to Death Valley in the same day!
THE RETURN TRIP FROM SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK
As mentioned previously, there was more haze about in the afternoon. Therefore, taking good pictures became problematic. However, this was an unusually clear day so please enjoy the following photos.
For those who are new traveling to the park, there are many vista points where one may stop.
KAWEAH DAM ENROUTE HOME
For those who have some time after visiting Sequoia National Park, do take a few moments to stop at Kaweah Dam. It is one of the largest earthen dams in the United States.
This author hopes everyone has enjoyed reading this pictorial-based article. One will not regret visiting Sequoia National Park.
Written By: Ed Smith
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