Sequoia National Park Hike | Big Sur Carmel California Vacation

Our trip to California – Part 1

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks” – John Muir

Last year we flew to California for Antony and Gianna’s wedding. We had an amazing time photographing their engagement photos in Brooklyn, New York, so anticipation was rising for their wedding in Southern California.

Gianna’s amazing family offered to take us site seeing for our first visit to California. So, the day before the wedding, they drove us out to The Sequoia National Park and packed us a yummy lunch. One more reason we fell in love with them!

Walking through this forest was a humbling and reverential experience. The scope and majesty of life and beauty, so intense and yet intimately serene made us want to tip-toe around the behemoth Sequoia trees, wary of disturbing them in any way. The feeling almost seems silly considering their mass. These trees shrug off storms, fire, lightning even the implacable passage of centuries seems to be unable to mar these awe inspiring giants! So, perhaps, our innate deference was a nod of respect for the incredible lesson of patient endurance we could only begin to contemplate huddled beneath their sheltering arms.

This experience was definitely a contemplative highlight in our book of travels. The sheer size of the Sequoias alone is incredible to see in person. I was amazed to finally see General Sherman, the largest living tree on Earth, in person!

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer

As we walked along the trails, it was nearly silent, hearing only the occasional Sequoia Cone dropping to the ground. Even the forest creatures seemed hushed in homage to these coniferous sentinels. The tranquility of this place was only emphasized by our stay in Los Angeles a few days before, two places separated by such contrast and yet physically not that far apart.

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding PhotographerWe drove through Three Rivers on our way to the Sequoia National Park. This part of California is so vibrant and beautiful, it seems impossible to capture it in photographs.

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer

At the center of the park there was a trail to the top of  Moro Rock. This granite dome, peaked in the center of the park, has been exposed by the gradual upward thrust of the mountains themselves and continues to be pushed upward by the subterranean conflict of stone and earth still happening secretly in the heart of the park. The 400 step hiking pathway is carved out of living rock and, in most sections hikers are protected by railings. The journey to the top wasn’t easy, switchbacks, scrambling and vertigo paved the path to an elevation of  6,725 feet.

(And, yes, I am afraid of heights, so I’m holding on to that railing and him with a death grip!)

Sequoia National Park Hike California Wedding PhotographerSequoia National Park Hike California Wedding Photographer

We were not going to leave California without experiencing the Pacific Ocean! So, after the wedding, we spent the day driving up the coast and pulling over at beautiful spots snapping pictures. Then we got to Big Sur! I wish we would have planned on spending a week here instead of just one day. Never had we seen such a composition of natural beauty, cloud and sun, rock and raging sea foam, gentle breeze, roaring wave, dappled sun and the comforting growth of California wildflowers.

Big Sur Carmel California Destination Wedding PhotographerBig Sur Carmel California Destination Wedding Photographer
Big Sur Carmel California Destination Wedding Photographer

Right off Highway 1, we came across the Rocky Point Restaurant, an oceanside bistro with an incredible deck perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. After exploring the area for a bit, we relaxed on the deck outside and shared some Rosé as the sun set.

Big Sur Carmel California Destination Wedding PhotographerSequoia National Park Hike California Wedding PhotographerBig Sur Carmel California Destination Wedding PhotographerBig Sur Carmel California Destination Wedding PhotographerAfter visiting the Sequoia National Park, Seeing Big Sur, and eating at a great restaurant right outside Carmel, we drove up to Napa Valley for three days. Tune in to the next episode of Travel Tuesday to see Part ii of our Trip to California!

By: Amanda Turner

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