Sunday, August 17, 2008

What I did this summer

Other than spending way too much time in Japan for work, I was able to take a week-long road trip with my lovely husband.

The impetus for the trip was the SPIE photonics + optics conference in San Diego. I know, sounds fun, huh? Brian was scheduled to give a talk on 'A planar "on-chip" refractometer using an organic light emitting diode light source and an organic photovoltaic detector' at the conference.

Brian decided that we should have some more fun leading up to the conference, and I suggested something with a shorter title than his presentation had. So we ended up camping for two nights at Sequoia National Park.

The weather was beautiful and there were plenty of these massive trees to look at and... well, yes... hug.

Now for a little tree lesson. First - the coastal redwoods - the tall ones, those are sequoias too. Specifically "Sequoia Sempervirens". That species contains the tallest trees in the world. We didn't see those on this trip. But, a little over 400 miles from those trees, you'll find Sequoia National Park. In this park, sequoia refers to "Sequoiadendron Giganteum", or the giant sequoia. These trees are the largest individual plants by volume in the world. The largest tree by this standard is the General Sherman.

The trees aside, Sequoia Natl is still a great place to do some camping and hiking. To view the trees, the park has put 40 miles of maintained trails around the grove containing the largest of the trees. This makes for very scenic hiking.