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Sequoia National Park
Located in the Southern Sierra Nevada, the Sequoia National Park, was established as a national park in 1890, preceded in age by only two national parks at the time, Yellowstone National Park and Mackinac National Park.
The park plays host to the highest mountain in continental United States, Mount Whitney, with a peak height of 14,505 feet. From Mount Whitney, for those who are fitter than 99% of the population, one can follow the John Muir trail, all the way to Yosemite Valley. Mount Whitney, first conquered and climbed by Charles Begole in 1873, was named after Josiah Whitney (not Whitney Houston), who at the time was the State Geologist of California.
A geological irony, Mount Whitney, with the highest elevation in continental America, is situated only 76 miles from the point of lowest elevation in North America, Death Valley. With an elevation of minus 282 feet, Death Valley makes up the most part of Death Valley National Park.
The parks namesake, the Giant Sequoia, is an astounding entity. It's only natural habitat in all the world is on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Demonstrating quite how amazing Mother Nature is, the Giant Sequoia grows from a seed so miniscule and light, it's impossible to comprehend the sheer speed at which the trees multiply their size.
To demonstrate quite how large Sequoias can be, we need to compare the trees to what we know to be huge. As quoted from "SequoiaNationalPark.com" (http://www.sequoia.national-park.com/info.htm)- "The largest of the sequoias are as tall as an average 26 story building, and their diameters at the base exceed the width of many city streets."
The largest tree in the world, General Sherman, resides in the Sequoia National Park. He has an age of approximately 2,200 years, a base diameter of 36.5 feet and a height of 274.9 feet.
Although the magnificent General Sherman, and his 'smaller' Sequoia buddies, are reason enough to visit Sequoia National Park, there are some other wonderful creatures to be found here. In keeping with all things big, one can also spot the odd black bear in the park. The most common bear species, native to North America, the Black bears range throughout both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - where they pursue natural foods - digging up roots in meadows, ripping apart logs, and peering into tree cavities for food.
The bears certainly deserve a starring role in any article, but let's not forget the many other creatures that roam the Sequoia National Park; the California King snake, the California Newt, the Pacific Tree frog, the Big Horn sheep, the Big Brown bat, Coyote, Mule deer; and several rare species, such as the wolverine, and badger.