King's Canyon & Sequoia National Parks | Fall 2016

“...the mighty Sierra, miles in height...seemed not clothed with light but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city...Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light." John Muir described these mountains perfectly. The "Range of Light". Yosemite may be the king of the Parks, but King's Canyon quietly threatens the title. From Zumwalt Meadow (which is truly Ithilien incarnate) to the glorious drive up the Canyon itself, King's Canyon took my breath and didn't get it back.

Sequoia needs no introduction. It is home to the largest trees on earth, including the over two millennia old "General Sherman" which takes the destinction with a mass of 52,513 cubic feet. As the NPS site notes, “It is difficult to comprehend the immense size, age and stature of [the Sequoia], but it is easy to let your mind and spirit rise as its trunk carries your gaze toward the skies.” It bears repeating that they are wonders. The poet Mary Oliver once gave “Instructions for living a life:" The instructions are simple, and it seems to me they are easily followed in places like these. "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

King's Canyon National Park became the 25th National Park on March 4, 1940, located in the Sierra Nevadas of Central California.

Sequoia National Park became the 2nd National Park on September 25, 1890, located in the Sierra Nevadas of Central California.

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All pictures by Karl Magnuson
Canon 6D, Canon 60D
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L, Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L