We started our vacation today and had a lot to do the morning we left. Got our youngest packed and pointed him east so that he could drive to
. to visit with his
grandparents while we were gone. This
is his first road trip by himself of this distance. He is driving Candy’s car and we spoke with
him this afternoon and he made it. Once he was on the road it was time for us
to leave. We headed up to DIA to catch
our flight to Wichita,
KS . The flight was uneventful and we landed and
picked up our rental car. While in Fresno we stopped at
Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and the Meat Market to get our supplies. We were on the road to Fresno
around 3:30pm. The drive took us about
an hour and half to get to town and once there we stopped at the realtor’s
office to get the keys to the house we had rented for the week. Three Rivers, CA
The house is awesome! It is just two miles from the entrance to
Sequoia National Park
and is located on the Kaweah River just outside of . Has a large deck so that we can kick back and
listen to the rushing water and view the wildlife. We unloaded all of our supplies and get
settled in. Afterwards we drove back
into town to see if we could find something to eat. There is not much in Three Rivers, CA ,
two gas stations, three restaurants at most, a video store, coffee shop and general
market. Three Rivers, CA
We didn’t have internet and that was nice. This gave me a real chance to unplug from work. I even forwarded my office and cell phone so that I wouldn’t get any calls. I needed a break, most vacations I end up working part time, but this time I just made the decision not to. The first day was a little rough and our cell phones were pretty much useless at the house and it the mountains. But I got over not being in touch quickly.
We opted for Mexican food. We sat outside and enjoyed the nice weather while we ate. The place stayed pretty busy and the food was ok. I had a pork burrito with green chili. I can do a better job.
Back at the house we kicked-it out back and planned our strategy for taking on the park tomorrow.
2012 Vacation – July 28th
Up early and out the door. We were on our way to the park at 7:50am and through the gate just a few minutes later. We stopped in at the visitor’s center to get a map and figure out what we wanted to do first.
We opted to drive up to the
parking lot and
park. From here we could catch a bus to
take us to other areas of the park. After a quick perusal through the museum we
did our first trail “Big Tree’s Trail” this is a 1.2 mile loop on a paved path that circles a
meadow with giant sequoias We snapped up
pictures left and right of the massive trees and meadow as we made our way
around the loop. Wild flowers, grasses
and plants of various varieties filled the meadow. They perform controlled burns in the park,
this is actually required so that the fire will heat the fallen pine cones and
they will break open and release the seeds for new sequoia trees. They had recently performed a burn and in
certain area’s the fire was still smoldering and even flaming up. Giant Forest
As we made our way around the bend, we looked up and there just off the trail was a Bear with one of her cubs. Candy and I both about crapped out pants. The bear was no more than 20ft away and moving our direction. We stood there for a second and then started walking backwards. The bear came up on the path and crossed over into the meadow. There was a cub with her but she kept in front of it and blocked from view so I couldn’t get a picture. Once in the meadow she laid down in the tall grass and if you were passing by you wouldn’t even know she was there.
Once the shock of coming so close to the bears was over, we finished out the loop and made our way over to the Moro Rock trail head that was just across the road. We hiked the 2.5 miles through the forest and did not come across any other hikers until we had just about reached the end. If you really want to see
, hike the trails and catch
the shuttle to return. We came across
lots of sequoia and sugar pine trees that you wouldn’t get to see from the
car. When we reached Moro Rock we did
the 0.5 mile hike up to the top. Moro
Rock is steep 300ft staircase climb.
From the top you have views into the Great Western Divide. This was busy area; the shuttle stopped here
and with the short distance up to the top lots of visitors made the trek. Sequoia National Park
When back at the bottom we hopped on the shuttle that was standing room only and took it back to the
. With all the people we decided to head on
back down the mountain to the house.
There was construction on the General’s Highway and the road was closed
to two way traffic. Every 20 minutes
they would let you down/up the mountain.
So it was fun to try to catch the light. We learned quickly, that if you found shade
the wait was much nicer than sitting in the glaring sun. Giant Trees
When we were in
at the Wal-Mart I
got a 10 day fishing license and $21 rod and reel with a box of tackle. I put on my swimming suit and went down to
the river to fish and cool off. The
rocks were very slippery and you had to watch your step and look for sure footing. I was wearing aqua socks and even with them
it was slick. Fresno
I put on a small plastic worm for bait and after about 5 casts I caught a 14 inch rainbow trout. Got all excited and about slipped! J Reeled it in, pulled the hook and let it go. I didn’t have the camera with me, but I will next time. J
We threw some steaks on the grill and baked the twice baked potato’s we had gotten at the store. It was great dinner! With all the travel and getting up early we were in bed by 9:30pm.
View all pictures from today’s adventure: https://picasaweb.google.com/115678648713324071004/20120728?authkey=Gv1sRgCLSErMPFu_mG1QE
2012 Vacation July 29th
Another early morning for us as we wanted to get a few more trails in today. We drove up into the park and once again parked the car at the
parking lot. We did the Big Forest Loop trail again in
hopes of catching another glimpse of the bear we had seen yesterday. No luck this day so we decided to move on. Giant Forest
We caught the shuttle and headed over to Crescent Meadow. Candy and I were the only two on the shuttle except for the driver. He was in good spirits and had plenty of stories to tell. Once at our stop we jumped off the shuttle and started off on the trail. It wasn’t five minutes and once again we encountered another bear and her cub. This one was crossing the trail with her cub. Candy snagged this picture of the cub in the tree.
Once the excitement was over we continued on our hike with our eyes wide open in the event we came across any others. We were surrounded by towering sequoias and sugar pines. We did the loop trail and ended up at Tharp Log. Built in 1861 by Hale D. Tharp, he would spend the summers living here and used the near by meadows as range for his livestock. Tharp is recognized as one of the discover’s of the giant forest. He died in 1912 at the age of 84.
We made our way back to the trail head and caught the shuttle over to the
. From there we caught the orange line and took
the shuttle up to Giant Forest
and Village. We walked through the
visitor center and looked around. On one
wall they have a mural of the different type of animals that can found in the
forest. We went into the restaurant and
gift shop and ordered up something to eat.
We checked out the various shirts and gifts for sale while we finished
our drinks. Lodepole
We made our way up through the Lodgepole camping area and picked up the Tokopah falls trail. This is a 3.4 mile round trip loop that runs along the river up to the falls. The fall was running but not much. They received 70% less snow this last year and there is not much water. It is really noticeable when you drive by the Kaweah reservoir. So with minimal water we were able to get up on the falls. Once again you need to watch your step. The granite is slick and with wet shoes its even slicker. We hammed it up for some pictures and climbed around. Candy climbed up higher than I did and it was a bit of a challenge coming back down.
We made our way down from the falls back to Lodgepole. Along the way we found an area in the river that we could walk out to and lay on the massive granite rock in the shade. We hung out for a bit and snacked on our trail mix and half a sandwich. Always with a keen eye looking for any bears that might want to get at our food. We continued down to the shuttle stop. We waited a few minutes and there was our shuttle. We road down to the General Sherman parking area and made the 0.5 mile hike down to the tree. This is the largest tree in the world by mass. We walked around the tree with all of the other visitors, it is very impressive and something that you should see for yourself. It is so big it is really hard to capture a picture that can justify what seeing it in person looks like. Caught the shuttle and we were back to the museum parking lot. We made our way back down the mountain and through the construction zone. I parked about 500 ft. back from the car in front of us in the shade. The wait was about 15 minutes so not to bad.
Back at the house we loaded up the pictures we had taken today. We cooked up some chicken on the grill with some veggies and a salad. Sat out back on the deck and just listened to the water flow.
View all pictures from today’s adventure: https://picasaweb.google.com/115678648713324071004/20120729?authkey=Gv1sRgCL2dsOaaicLIbQ
2012 Vacation July 30th
We took a break from the park today and slept in a little. I say a little but we were still up by 7am. We got dressed and made the drive into Three Rivers and got us a coffee. From there we drove up to
it’s about 40 miles from where we are staying. Vasalia, CA
this is just the local park and did a drive through. We stopped and hung out for a bit while I
searched for any local antique shops that we could on Google. As luck would have it there were about seven
of them all on Mooney Park Main Street.
We spent most of the morning walking up and down
and checked out the antique shops. We
saw a lot of nice antiques but with no way to get anything home we saved some
money. I found a couple of fire hydrants,
I would like to have one for the yard but with the weight there was just no way
to get it home. Candy did get a small deer
vase and rooster lamp for the kitchen.
Being in Vasilia we had the opportunity to get a Starbucks.
We finished up about noon and had lunch at Mimi’s. The food was ok, I am not a big fan, Candy likes it! I guess I just don’t know what to order.
We then headed over to the Mall and walked around and checked it out. Pretty much the same as you will find in any mall in
. Being that our anniversary was coming up and
with all the travel I have been doing I didn’t have a chance to get Candy
anything. I made the excuse that I
needed to hit the restroom and checked out a couple of the jewelry shops. I got her a little amethyst bracelet to go with
the ear rings and necklace that I hade gotten her last year. America
As we were leaving the mall we did find a medical clothing shop and Candy found a new set of scrubs for work.
Made the drive back to Three Rivers and we stopped and ordered a pizza from the pizza place in town. We had a sausage, pepperoni, black olive and jalapeño pizza and it was very tasty! We sat out back and enjoyed the sounds of the river.
2012 Vacation July 31st
We did a lot of driving today. We headed out at 8am and made our way back into the park. We took the General’s Highway through Sequoia up into
. We made our first stop at the construction
zone where we waited about 20 minutes to get through. It took us about 2/hours to get to our next
stop. Kings Canyon
Our second stop was the General Grant visitor’s center. We checked out the gift shop and looked at the map. We got the boys each a shirt, needed to bring them something back. We then drove over to the General Grant parking lot and hiked around the tree and snapped up some more pictures. This is another massive Sequoia tree. They have a very nice paved trail for you to walk on and check out the scenery.
Lot’s of tourist were visiting this area; it was hard to
get a decent picture with all the people.
In this location there is a down sequoia that you can actually walk
through. I wish we could get sequoia
trees to grow in . Maybe we do somewhere. Colorado
We continued on the road and made our way to the Cedar Grove visitors center. We got a drink and I needed an ice cream bar. The steller’s jays were hanging out in the area and I threw them a small piece of chocolate and they were all over it. They looked pretty rough, like me when I get up in the morning.
We made our way to Roads End; it is actually called Roads End. It was now about 1:30 in the afternoon. We made the circle loop and headed back.
is one of the
deepest canyons that I have ever been in.
It puts to shame the little canyons that we hike around Kings
Canyon . The views are just awesome. Colorado Springs
Our intention was to Hike the 9 mile loop from Roads End up to
. We opted not to make the journey, it was
late in the afternoon and the temperature was well into the high 90’s. Mist
We did stop and make the 0.5 mile walk to the
. Now this was beautiful and not to overly
crowded. This is a nice running water fall
with a deep pool that you could swim in.
We were both wishing we had brought our swimming suits so we could jump
in a cool off. We snapped up some pictures and made our way
back to the car. Roaring
As we were driving along the
it was looking so tempting to jump
in. I pulled into a pull out and we
walked down to the river. I stripped
down to my underwear and put on my water shoes and made my way out into the
river across the slick rocks. Candy
hiked up her shorts and was right behind me.
It felt great to get into the cool water and take a break. We stacked a few rocks to leave our mark
that we were there. Roaring River
We started the long drive back and pulled off at various locations to get some additional pictures of the peaks and wildlife.
turn off about 4:30pm and figured we should stop and check it out we probably
wouldn’t be back this way. We were both
glad we did. They have a nice lodge and
restaurant here. This looks newer than
the other places we had visited. The
restaurant opened at 5pm and we were lucky enough to get a reservation. We had window table that had a great view of
the surrounding area. As we were
walking back to our car the chipmunks were running around and I was able to get
this picture. Waksachi Village
Back in the car it took us another couple of hours to get back to the house. We arrived back about 8pm.
View all the pictures from today’s adventure here: https://picasaweb.google.com/115678648713324071004/20120731?authkey=Gv1sRgCMuskeDkjcGugQE
2012 Vacation August 1st, Happy Anniversary
Today we celebrated or 25th wedding anniversary and I couldn’t think of any place else I would rather be to do so. We exchanged the cards we had gotten each other. We talked about how blessed we have been together and what we have accomplished over the years. Love you babe!
We loaded the back pack and were on our way to get some more hiking in. Today we decided to get some distance in. We drove up to the
parking lot and hopped
on the shuttle to take us over to Moro Rock.
Our plan for today was to hike from Moro Rock up to the General Sherman
tree. This is about a six mile hike off
the beaten path and away from all the people. Giant Forest
At Moro Rock we caught the trail head to take us up to Crescent Meadow. We hiked through the sequoias and sugar pines and through a couple of meadows along the way. All week I had been trying to get some decent bird pictures. With the trees being so tall it was hard to spot any birds although you could hear them chirping. I finally captured this picture of a really pretty finch. For the entire hike we only crossed one other couple on the trail. This is maybe part of the reason why I was finally able to see some birds.
Our first stop was a nice little water fall. We hung out and took a short break. We then headed up to Bobcat Point. Here you can look back and get a great view of Moro Rock and views into the Western Divide. We continued on the trail and made our way over to Crescent Meadow. We had hopes of spotting the bear we had seen a couple of days before. No luck this time.
We continued on the trail and made the quick loop to check out Squatters Cabin. Built in the 1980’s by some guy who was trying to claim rights to the land. I guess he was quickly removed. Back on the trail we passed through the Black Arch and then onto
of Hercules. Again no
people on the trails, we had them all to our selves. We came across a couple of deer and snapped
a few pictures.
We kept moving and made our way Circle Meadow and them up to other tree groupings. The first was a pretty cluster of sequoias that had been named as the Founders Group. Then we reached the Room Tree, Cattle Cabin and then the McKinley tree. We took pictures along the way, both talking about how awesome it would have been to be one of the discover’s of these trees. Also a big thanks out to our forefathers for having the vision to save these trees and turn this area into a National Park for everyone to enjoy.
After reaching the General Sherman tree we jumped on the shuttle and road back up to Lodgepole where we had a quick bit to eat. We grabbed the shuttle to take us back down to the
. We had a little time to kill so we hike
around an area called Beetle Rock. It
was about 4:30pm and we wanted to get back down through the construction area. We made it there at about 4:50pm and ended
up waiting a good 50 minutes before we could get through. Luckily we were parked in the shade. I parked about 400ft back from the car in
front of us so we could get some shade.
Three cars behind me pulled around so they could get in front. Once they parked we could see that they
realized that they had screwed up as now they were sitting in the hot sun. Giant
Once back in town we drove to the market and grabbed a salad and some beef for the grill. Got home and put on swimming suits and went down and played in the river for a while. We did some rock hounding to see if we could find any geodes but no luck. We busted up some rocks to see if we could find any crystals.
Cooked up dinner and starting packing for the return home tomorrow. Neither one of us was ready to leave. We had hiked over 25 miles in the park and still had plenty of other trails that we would have liked to gotten on. We will have to make another trip up this way. Thinking about
next time and coming up earlier in the year to get a glimpse of more wild
View all the pictures from today’s adventure here: https://picasaweb.google.com/115678648713324071004/20120801?authkey=Gv1sRgCMOBncuh7rrJSQ