Sleeping with Giants in Sequoia National Park

Photographer Jeff Berting and his family camp amongst the Sequoia’s forgotten ruins.

  • Category
    Life Outside
  • Written by
    Jeff Berting
  • Photographed by
    Jeff Berting

Fall is camping season in our family. Every year we go on at least one. We had been to Yosemite with my sister and her family, so when fall came around, we wanted to find someplace new and a little more removed. My wife, Siri, was on one of her photo shoots and began talking about camping with a woman, who mentioned a place they like to go every year up in the Sierras. She said it was near the edge of Sequoia National Park, and you could literally camp amongst the tall trees. We looked it up on the Internet and found very little info or images. Still, it sounded intriguing.

We loaded up the car and hit the road. That woman was right, it is out of the way…there was probably a 30-mile stretch where it was a two-lane road with lots of switchbacks, so it was slow going. When we did come across the campsite, we almost missed it if not for a tiny sign next to the stump of a fallen sequoia. The campsite host greeted us, sharing we arrived just in time before they closed up for the winter.

The site used to be a logging camp about 100 years prior, thus many sequoia stumps remain. Not all of the “giants” were cut, so the forest has a mix of live trees and what looked like nature’s version of the Roman Forum. Our son absolutely loved it. With no crowds, he had free reign of the place and climbed on everything he could, living out all sorts of adventure stories he had stored in his small, but imaginative head. Since we were deep in the Sierras, one of the things that took some getting used to was the lack of bright light. Until the sun was directly overhead, there were no open vistas to get your bearing and sense of direction. So if you were’t paying attention on the hike one could get lost very easily. In the end, we did get lost, but it was the kind of lost we were looking for with this type of getaway.

The author's son had free reign amongst the giants in Sequoia National Park.

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