What do you do when you get nervous? When I get nervous, I laugh. A lot! And my whole family knows it. They also know that I’m a bit nervous around sheer heights—especially with my five children in tow. Now I can climb a mountain with the best of them. Through a forest, along a rocky trail. Surrounded by trees. Or at least huge boulders to hem you in. On the East Coast of the U.S., most times when you hike the mountain trails, you feel pretty much protected. Oh, we’ve scrambled up boulders in our mountain climbing on the East Coast. But it’s not as frightening as out west where there appear to be more cliff ledges—with limited railings and way too much open air space to be swept off the edges. Hence all my giggles when we visited the Sequoia National Park and Moro Rock in California.
We were camping at Dorst Creek Campground inside the national park area and the children heard the park rangers’ talk about a stunning valley view that was only a half mile hike, roundtrip, from the parking lot in the Giant Forest area. Now my kids know they can entice me to do almost anything when there is a “stunning valley view” attached.
“Mom,” our oldest daughter opened her argument. “We can’t come all the way across the continental United States and not see this view.”
“It’s above the Sequoias,” the twins added.
“It’s the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mom,” our second daughter, Miss Know-It-All, said. “And Moro Rock is made out of granite.”
I looked at my husband. He wore a big smile. “I’m convinced, guys,” I said. “Let’s go!”
On the way to the trail parking lot, my son shared the fact he remembered.
“Mom, we’ll be able to see the Great Western Divide mountain peaks up there.”
The Great Western Divide? Mountains and valleys? Everything’s taller out west, I thought. My breathing increased, and I wasn’t even out of the van yet. The kids did say it was a short hike, Vic, I reasoned. Calm down.
Oh, it was a short distance compared to other hikes we’ve taken. But it was almost straight up! Moro Rock rises 6,725 feet above sea level, according to the information literature. We only had to climb the last 300 feet of that elevation. It was enough!
|Death grip on railing!
As we climbed up the staircase, there was nothing but air on either side of us in some places. My laughter filled that empty space. The children went first. I wanted them where I could see them. In some places, the trail was so narrow that only one hiker could climb the section at a time. And while it was incredible to be above the mighty sequoia trees, I couldn’t help wishing there was something a little more solid holding us onto the dome rock besides gravity. While my children scrambled up the trail almost hands free, I stared at the rock under my feet and clung to the warm metal poles hammered into this granite dome wherever I found them.
The websites I provide here offer much information about Moro Rock, both its geological history and present conditions and the surrounding national park area and Dorst Campground. The view is definitely worth the short climb if you are in the area. However, just be aware of the open space and grand heights. Please keep an eye on your children here. To me, it looks very easy to slip off that cliff.
Spring is finally here in New Jersey. Why not start planning your family summer adventure? Oh, and please feel free to share whatever makes you nervous in a comment here at Camping with Five Kids. I won’t tell anyone! Enjoy your spring holidays!