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Crunch, Crunch, Crunch: Snowshoe Mariposa Grove

A winter-pretty outing takes adventurers past the Big Trees.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    SO SILENT... you can hear a pine cone drop? That can be a difficult state to achieve when you're visiting a natural spot that is beloved by many. Yes, "beloved," not simply loved, which means we mean business about the place we're describing. It's Mariposa Grove, in Yosemite National Park, and writing that people simple love the sequoias doesn't seem strong enough, so "beloved" it must be. Because the sequoias of Mariposa Grove just bring out the emotion in people, and, yes, people. Lots of people, definitely in summertime, but in the colder months, too. Which means that a chance to hike back into the trees a bit, with a knowledge-rich naturalist as a guide, is a chance to commune more fully and semi-silently with the giants, rather than admiring them with larger crowds. There's a snowshoe hike coming up, on Saturday, Feb. 8, and if you're good for a "moderate to challenging" trek of some seven to eight miles, this could be your thing.

    OF COURSE... much'll depend on snow, but you know that. You'll enjoy the sequoias of the grove with naturalist Shirley Spencer at the lead, so expect to hear much of the sequoias' aging process and life span and limbs and how they handle the infrequent though inevitable lightning strikes (a perpetually fascinating topic). You can add on the Experience Package, which includes Upper Pines Campground camping, if you're feeling especially rugged and/or hearty. Yosemite Lodge is another package choice, too. If you're not up for eight or so miles of moderate to challenging snowshoe action, but still want to try some Sierra snowshoe fun, look to Tenaya Lodge, outside the park's gates. No sequoias there, but some beautiful country to trek through.