Then there was the whole Enchanted Forest feel of the central core of the park, that just suddenly appeared after the steep and ridiculously curvy General Highway on the way up (a road that was also being practically rebuilt in sections--looked like the most precarious highway work ever, right there beside cliffs, for at least a mile or so). I half-expected cartoon bird to start flying around, and appearing on my shoulders. (It was about 20 degrees cooler up here than in the foothills as well, which made me love the forest more.)
I tried to capture the surprise of that, in some off-the-main-road photos. It wasn't really doable, unfortunately. Even so, I would get plenty of what I thought were dramatic shots nearby--mainly, around and then underground, in Crystal Cave specifically.
I read about this place in a guide book, and online, long before making it to the park, and decidedly quickly that I wanted to go. That may be a reflection of my wanting to go to New Mexico first, and thinking that I would make it to Carlsbad Caverns. Sequoia had a cave, though! It was also the first one I ever visited.
To get to it, you had to walk a half-mile down to a waterfall, then wait to get inside--as in, you had to walk through the Enchanted Forest and then wait to get into this cave.
I really didn't want to leave Crystal Cave so soon, after the 50 minutes of the family tour (the one available to me that morning) was over. I was the next to the last person out, I think. Then, in any case, came the hardest part: Climbing back up the trail, about 320 feet or so, all uphill. A few days later, I would walk up twice this elevation over the same distance, only this time on a rocky trail.
I made it, eventually, and then headed toward the Lodgepole Visitors Center, passing giant sequoias on the way. (Getting these to look even slightly non-fake via my Google Pixel phone, but with true-to-life colors showing, was impossible, since it uses multiple HDR, or high dynamic range, processing of several shots to make photos. Yeah, "no filter" people, your phone may be doing things like this. The iPhone has it by default. Anyway, I tried! Did well enough, I think.)
2018, Ray Mikell