Saturday, August 25, 2012


August 9th, Thursday through August 13th, Monday

Our ride to Sequoia was yet one more challenging ride up, up, and up and around many ess curves on narrow roads. To arrive at the cool, green forest was worth the trip. Once there, we checked out our reserved campsite and realized that we would not even fit on the designated site. We quickly moved to a "first come, first served" campsite on the other side of the park and found one that was shady, large, and very nice. We found out later that we had actually been on two sites and that is why it ws so large! The Rangers didn't seem to mind and we were very content there.

We hadn't realized that the Sequoias only grew in certain areas where conditions were perfect for their survival. The right amount of water and sunlight. These groves are interspersed amid the rest of the forest which was filled with White Fir, Incense Cedar,  Ponderosa and Sugar Pines.
Giant Sequoi
Bottom of Tree Root -Tunnel through Tree
Mature Sequoias can reach as much as 250 high and the lower branches die from lack of sunlight.Fires from lightening strikes have burned near the base of trees, leaving scars that stop the movement of water and minerals to the top. This aids in the dead "snag"tops that protrude from the  rounded crowns of many mature giants. We visited several groves of trees, inlcuding the General Grant Giant Sequoia and walked the loop to view the General Grant Tree which measures over 267 feet tall and 107.6 inches round. This tree was named after Ulysses S. Grant by Lucretia P. Baker in 1867. It is 1800-2000 years old and sits in a grove of 2000-3000 year old sequoias. It has been called "the Nation's  Chrismtas Tree" by President Coolidge and desinated as a living National Shrine by President Eisenhower in remembrance of Americans who have died in war.

The General Sherman Tree located near the Giant Forest is the world's largest tree by volume. It is not the tallest or the widest, but its volume is 52,500 cubic feet. the Giant Forest was named as such by John Muir in 1875 and is acclaimed for its beautiful meadows as well as its sequoia grove.
Sequoia Grove

Virtually, everywhere we went the sequoias and pines blanketed us with shade and gave us a sense of peace and quiet. We even felt that when we went to Lake Hume with its hustle and bustle of a "christian" camp and mini village. We had to drive through there to get to the lake which is situated such that there is access from all sides and believe me, it was well used. Fishermen, kayakers, canoers, and swimmers took full advantage of its cool, clear waters. We put the canoe in one day and paddled for a few hours. Another day, we went back and just sat in the shade and read for the afternoon. Very relaxing.

Lake Hume

We took a day and drove down into Kings Canyon where the Sierra Mountains dwarfed the cool flowing river. It being so late in the summer, we thought the river may have been lower than it was. The landscape was spectacular with the high peaks and the valley below.

Sierra Nevada Mountain Range

Sierra Nevada Peaks

Kings River

Roaring River Falls in Kings Canyon

Gravity Fed Gas Pumps in Working Pump- Gasoline sold by the liter

Our only real hiking adventure was down into the Crystal Caves. To get there, we had to drive seven miles on a road that was no wider than a lane and a half  with many potholes. It took us about 40 minutes to traverse this passage slowly moving around blind curves. Once there, we walked 15 minutes down the hill to the cave entrance. These caves, while not as large as the Carlsbad Caverns, are just as intriguing with its curtains, stalagmites and stalacties that are still forming and the pathways were wet and slippery. The guide was enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about the formations and history of the cave systems in the park. There are over 300 caves in the Park, but this is the only one open to the public. The hike came in on the return hill straight up hill. Definitely had our exercise for the day on this steep climb.
Crystal Caves

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were established with the aid of John Muir when, after touring the area, realized how much like Yosemite this area is. Tim and I marvel at the foresight of all of the people who were able to understand how this beautiful country should be preserved for future generations. We thank them.

Our biggest decison of the week was how to get to Yosemite for our next week's adventures. We opted to go to an RV park on our way through Fresno for a night that would have electricity and a laundry as we would have neither for the next week in Yosemite.  We're looking foward to spending time with our friends Paula and Dale when they stay with us in the park for a couple of days.

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