but wait. . .did you know there is another National Park
that is practically connected to Sequoia?
well guess what? Neither did we. . .
until I began my research in TripAdvisor.com
but Kings Canyon National Park
is barely a stones throw from Sequoia. . .
our original intention had been to stay in Woodlake,
and drive into Sequoia, as that seemed to be the
closest town with RV Parks that could accommodate our rig. . .
however, given this new information, and the ouchy prices
at those RV Parks, we determined that
Viking RV Park (Passport America) in Kingsburg,
and right off CA 99 might serve our purposes better. . .
(see pics and info on the RV Park by clicking here)
Having determined there were FIVE things,
of the thirty listed, that we absolutely MUST see. . .
we headed out bright and early (hello. . .7:45A)
Friday morning. . .lunches packed. . .vehicle fueled up. . .
(no fuel available in the park)
fully prepared to spend the day until we had SEEN IT ALL. . .
or at least the things on our list. . .
after about 50 miles and an hours drive
through some beautiful agricultural areas. . .
we arrive at our first stop. . .
and a few hundred yards further along. . .
we stop for restrooms, and hiking pins. . .
Foothills Visitor Center is located at 800 ft elevation in
Three Rivers CA, where there are also a couple of RV Parks. . .
The 800 ft elevation is important to know because
you are about to climb to 7400 ft elevation in less than 30 miles. . .
this is how the road looks on the map. . .
and this is how a portion of the road looks
from the Moro Rock Trail. . .our first destination. . .
and where, we were thrilled to find this
Momma Bear and three cubs feeding
in a gully right below the parking lot. . .
but this little guy, who appeared to be the runt,
was busy. . .off doing his own thing. . .
climbing a tree. . .wandering in the brush. . .
just in general, being adorable. . .
of course we are nowhere near as close as
these pics would lead you to believe. . .
(although there were a few dummies who had climbed down into the gully)
the bears were a good 100 yards away. . .
and well below where we were standing
with lots of other tourists. . .
and now. . .for what we’ve come to do. . .
climb 400 steps to the top of Moro Rock. . .
gorgeous views open up almost immediately. . .
probably less than 100 steps in. . .
we made it to about 300 steps before I
completely ran out of steam. . .
and my heart was pounding from the altitude
and from being totally and completely out of shape. . .
highly recommend it for the rest of you. . .
on to the next thing. . .the Giant Forest. . .
and our first real look at the Sequoias. . .amazing!
the road runs between them. . .
and the trees totally dwarf the vehicle. . .
see Dave standing at the base of the tree
in the right hand pic. . .huge, huge specimens. . .
but these are nothing, compared to the
General Sherman Tree
the biggest tree in the world. . .
we head out. . .
4/10 of a mile. . .no problem. . .right?
a beautiful 47*. . .no sweat. . .just step carefully
and away we go. . .
yeah. . .as the sign says. . .the going down is easy. . .
and there it is. . .pics could never do it justice
or even begin to show how really, really large it is. . .
just can’t. . .if we could stand beside it,
I’m guessing we would barely come up
to those first dark rings at the bottom. . .
(please click the link above for some better perspectives)
so, we circle around, view it from as many angles
as possible, given the slippery conditions. . .
and start back UP to the parking lot. . .
at this point on the trail, from the base of the tree,
we have climbed the equivalent of a seven story building. . .
not so bad. . .right?
just stop, take a little break. . .continue on. . .
we’ve now climbed the equivalent of 21 stories. . .
and we are dyin’. . .
the elevation is right at 7000 feet. . .
and we are really, really feeling it. . .
everyone is bee bopping down the path
on their way to the bottom, as we had
been doing 1/2 an hour earlier. . .LOL!
(advice here: if you have any limitations whatsoever,
get a handicapped sticker. . .and park much, much
closer in [a completely different parking lot]
for much, much closer access)
anyway. . .that’s done. . .stop for a lunch break. . .
yummy tuna and crackers that we brought along with us. . .
and away we go to Kings Canyon National Park. . .
about 57 miles from the Foothills Visitor Center. . .
but less than 30 miles from we are at the Sherman Tree. . .
and where we have determined there are
two more things we should check out. . .
the Kings Canyon Panoramic Overlook
oh boo. . .the road is closed due to there still being snow and ice. . .
I’m sure with it being a dirt road, they are concerned with it
being muddy, and boggy, and folks getting stuck. . .
so, we must make do with as best a view as
we can get. . .as time will not allow
driving the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway today. . .
(on the list for next trip)
but at least we’ll see the General Grant Tree. . .
closer view. . .and the scar from a forest fire. . .
a Sequoia pine cone
and a Sequoia Tunnel. . .you know the kids gotta love that. . .
and away we go. . .back to Kingsburg and the RV Park there. . .
I calculate we would have saved about 50 miles,
and an hours total driving time had we stayed in
Woodlake. . .but given the expense of driving the coach there,
and back out to CA 99. . .and the extra cost of the RV park rates,
we are pleased with the decision we made to stay in Kingsburg. . .
I hope you all will enjoy Sequoia and
Kings Canyon National Parks as much as we did. . .
’til next time,
Janice and Dave
P.S. Here are the remainder of the pics I did not use in the blog. . .