A letter from Karen Stroh,
Sequoia National Park has been a part of my life since I was born. I grew up where the east fork joins the Kaweah River at the Pumpkin Hollow Bridge. My parents Bill and Denelle Stroh built and owned the Canyon Lodge Motel (now the Sequoia Village Inn). They both worked in Sequoia.
My mother's parents, Darrell and Nell Perce also worked in Sequoia. My mother grew up in Ash Mountain and Lodgepole. My parents met when my mother was working in the personnel department at Ash Mountain and my father was hired. My mother left that job to raise my sister Kathy and I, and to help run the motel.
My father worked in maintenance in all areas of Sequoia. Some of the things he did was maintain the lighting system in Crystal Cave, build and maintain backcountry lookouts and radio repeaters (he logged a lot of hours in the helicopter), entrance stations and the Lodgepole Museum. After he retired he helped the Sequoia Natural History Association with several projects including overseeing the creation of the new Foothills Visitor Center at Ash Mountain. My mother was the business manager of the Sequoia Natural History Association from 1973 until she retired in 1992.
My grandfather Darrell was a heavy equipment operator driving trucks in the summer and snowplows in the winter. My grandmother Nell was a telephone operator in the old Administration Building which topped the hill directly across the highway from the present Ash Mountain Visitors Center. They lived in Ash Mountain and in Grant Grove. As a child I spent time with them in both of these locations.
In the winters my parents took my sister Kathy and I to Lodgepole for night skating on the lighted ice rink. We also spent many weekends downhill skiing at Wolverton with friends from the park, Woodlake, Exeter, Lindsay and Visalia.
I have always enjoyed Crescent Meadow and Moro Rock and the General Sherman is amazing. I feel very privileged to have grown up with them.
I miss having all of this at my doorstep, but I have found a Sequoia giganteum here. It was planted on the hilltop where I live in 1966 as a 9 foot tree. It is now 75 feet tall. There are several other smaller ones on the property. Sequoia National Park will always be near and dear to my heart.
April 10, 2017