Guest Interview – Weston Liam Pickwell, Age 6

I’m interested to see how this interview goes.  If my hunch is correct, you’ll see a clear dichotomy between Wyatt, and my very verbose 6 year old.  Hope my fingers can keep up.

Weston, would you like to tell me a little bit about your trip?

Hmmmm….. well, I liked seeing the bears.  Um…. I liked seeing the sequoias, the tall trees, and the Grizzly Giant.  I liked Yellowstone because I liked the campground, and it was clean, and I liked the geysers, fumaroles, and mudpots.  Um…. I liked staying in a camper. Um… and…umm… well… I liked…. seeeeing the faces of Mt. Rushmore.

IMG_0124

What did you think about all of the driving we had to do?

Um…..  It was fun when we got to watch movies and play on our iPods.  And um… we liked um…. well I liked seeing a whole bunch of flags on Mount Rushmore.  About riding in the truck…  Oh yeah…. well I did like going to McDonalds one time, I think… and um… we got a toy Minion.

What was your least favorite part about riding in the truck?

I think it was waiting 15-20 minutes for iPods.  Why did you have to wait?  We were acting crazy.

Was there was there anything fun about driving that far?

I already told you!  The iPods!

Do you have any thoughts about the scenery you saw?

Um… it was pretty, but we have no idea if way out there there are more sequoias.  The scenery was high and pretty.  And um… I think I saw a canyon with a road in the middle with rocks in it that looked like they were from Lion King.  I think it was in Arches.

IMG_6067

What did you think about Yosemite?

It was interesting with all of the squirrels.  They wanted to get fed so they got just like one inch away.  Well, they walked up to a lady and she shot them with a water bottle.  Then another squirrel came.  We weren’t supposed to feed the squirrels or they could get relocated somewhere else or killed.  I think in the Badlands, what we saw was a chipmunk.

IMG_0524

Tell me about your experience in Zion NP.  How was that?

I think it was quite burning up in there but it was a little fun.  We stayed at Zion River Resort and it was clean and I think it had a pool.  We even had a ‘smores’agbord.  And we swam in the virgin river.  And we even hiked the narrows.  What was that like?  Well, it was a little tricky.  We went like 5 miles through water, like, kinda a current, like tiny water falls that made the current.  Well, there was patches of land that we could go on.  We ate cold pizza for lunch and cookies.

IMG_0934 IMG_0961

What was your top 5 National Parks?

1. YosemiteIMG_5485

IMG_5454

2. YellowstoneFullSizeRender 124 FullSizeRender 104

3. ZionFullSizeRender 172 FullSizeRender 177

4. Rocky MountainIMG_6506 IMG_6508

5. SequoiaIMG_5541 IMG_5526

What were your 5 top experiences?

1. See the giant sequoias and the Grizzly Giant

IMG_5391

2. Seeing the geysers and hot springs

IMG_5247

3. Swimming in the Virgin River

IMG_5773

4. The Jeep Ride in Moab

IMG_6016

5. The ATV in the hail storm

FullSizeRender 57

Why don’t you tell everyone what it is like to live in a camper for 6 weeks.

Well, when you live it in theres not much room.  For the kids, they can play in their beds with stuffed animals and they can come to life.  When you live in a camper on a trip, you have to drive like 100 miles or something to get to your campground.  And it is like 50 miles to get to a state.  And if you are going to skip a state, you have to drive 1000 miles, maybe.  I liked playing the Ranger game with Wyatt.

What was your favorite state?

Wyoming because we got to go to a cowboy thing.

IMG_5309

IMG_5302

Anything you would like to add?

Yeah, there was this Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone and the highest it exploded was like 300 feet.  We didn’t get to see it, but it was the highest.  That’s all!

The Big Trees

Tuesday – June 23

Day 19:

A magnificent growth of giants… one naturally walked softly and awe-stricken among them.  I wandered on, meeting nobler trees where all are noble… this part of the Sequoia belt seemed to me the finest, and I then named it “the Giant Forest.” – John Muir

IMG_5507

IMG_0784

Yes.  You can get carsick while driving.  We are staying in Three Rivers, CA and entered the park at the Ash Mountain Entrance.  From there it is a LONG winding, back and forth, 15-25 MPH trek up to the Giant Forest, possibly at least an hour.  I was a little uneasy by the time we got to the top.  After that drive we decided we were going to hit all we could in one day.  I didn’t want to do that again.  So off we went!

IMG_5592 IMG_5590 IMG_5566
IMG_5540 IMG_5538 IMG_5541 IMG_5521 IMG_5517 IMG_5514 IMG_5526Sequoia’s ‘Giant Forest’ makes Mariposa seem sad.  Not that Mariposa was bad.  Jennifer put it this way, “It’s like going to Knoxville and seeing a couple of tall building then going to NYC.”  Tall trees abound in Sequoia.  You drive through a family of them.  You drive around them.  They are ahead, behind, on your left, and on your right – all bearing down on you wondering why you are there.  You feel like a brontosaurus is about to peak its head around a giant one.  If feels prehistoric.  Finally, you have to just exist with them, flustered at the impossibility of taking enough pictures.  There were paths, and trails, and acres of them we never saw.  Such magnificent beasts of the forest.

IMG_5560 IMG_5556 IMG_5547 IMG_5543 IMG_5524 IMG_5520

General Sherman is the largest tree in the world by volume.  The reason being is that its trunk is MASSIVE and rises majestically, never wavering of its girth, hundreds of feet up.  The funny thing is that when you are driving, one will catch your attention and you ask, ‘how is that not the biggest one?’  But the General Sherman stands proud among its army.  You truly have trouble fathoming its size while next to it.  You can’t see the top when you are next to it.  And you can’t grasp its size when you are far away from it.  Cameras struggle to fit its entire height in their frame.  I think the only way to understand their size is to either be one of them, or be God.

IMG_5567

IMG_5542

You see burning going on when you are at the park.  There are crews, signs, and of course, smoke, that alert you to controlled burning.  For years, those in charge of the park had a hard time understanding what the trees needed.  Frequent fires are one of the main components to the size of sequoias.  You see fire scars all over the trees.  They have a way of healing themselves from fire.  But its in the fire that they grow strongest.  If you look closely at the rings in the picture above, you’ll see tight growth patterns, then a crack where the rings are dark… that’s a fire… then big growth rings.  They flourish after a fire.  I’m sure there’s a sermon in there somewhere.

IMG_5576 IMG_5584It’s dark in a cave.  The top picture is a cave with the lights out.  The bottom picture is with the lights on.  We decided to venture into Crystal Cave for a little adventure.  This ended up being the favorite thing of the day for the kids.  Who doesn’t love exploring the innards of a mountain?

IMG_5604

IMG_0799

IMG_0794 IMG_0795

IMG_0791 IMG_0797
IMG_0792IMG_0787IMG_0786IMG_0783 2IMG_0788IMG_0793I’m still skittish of heights.  Our last venture of the day was Moro Rock.  From what I read in the guide they gave us, it was a drive up to the top of a mountain, then a quick walk up a rock to a great lookout.  Not so.  It was a drive up a mountain.  Then a harrowing climb up hundreds of stairs with nothing but railing holding you back from sheer drop off.  If I had known I probably would have chickened out.  Jennifer and I were holding the boys hands so tightly they complained we were squishing them.  I thought if felt like Angels Landing in Zion (which we will not be doing) with handrails instead of chains.  As soon as I thought that, the lady behind me exclaimed the same remark.  But the view was beautiful, and the boys were braver than their parents.  They don’t know what fear is yet.

Itinerary: The Giant Forest, General Sherman Tree, Lodgepole Visitors Center, Crystal Cave, The Giant Tree Museum, Moro Rock.