Short Trip To Sequoia National Park
Day One - 99 To Sequoia With Muddy Waters
I decided to start my vacation in Sequoia first, and based my research online, i.e., Wikipedia and the SEKI site, I choose to enter at Three Rivers and booked a room at the Sequoia Village Inn, which is right at the entrance to the national park.
The music I selected for the drive from Lafayette, CA was Muddy Waters' greatest hits, which I enjoyed very much. I also had a bag of salted pecans to munch on. Each day I tried to have a different musical theme for drives.
For most of the trip to Sequoia, it rained and was overcast. Highway CA-99 has to be the most boring drive in the state of California, and 144 of the 246 miles I traveled that day where on 99. Yuck!
It was a great relief when I finally exited onto CA-198. The sun was shining, and I enjoyed driving through the huge lemon groves. The lemons were ripening, and I was tempted to pull over a grab a few for my green tea, but I resisted the urge.
When I got to the Sequoia Village Inn, there was a sign saying the office was across the street in the Buckeye Inn. The rooms in the Buckeye Inn are all on the river side of the street. There were two nice cats on the front porch of the office. I don't why, but I didn't take a picture of those guys. I should have because they were highlight of my stay there in the Aspen room. The room was dumpy, but it's location right next to the park, a big shared porch with a grill and the nice surrounding scenery sort of offset its negatives. I kept telling myself that anyway. I kept thinking that this is the kind of place where the weird guy Bob from Twin Peaks might stay or worse yet - Ken Burns doppelganger! Thank God, they had Wi-Fi for my laptop to keep me occupied!
There was still some light out so I decided to venture into the park, but soon as I got in, it started to rain. So I decided to get something to eat in town, and hunker down and hope for better weather on Tuesday. There was a restaurant across the street, but it was very expensive. I could see that it had a nice deck overlooking the rapids of the Kaweah River, but the Pizza Factory had much better prices and vegetarian sub I had was pretty tasty.
Day Two - Sequoia National Park with Howlin' Wolf
When I when out side on Tuesday, the clouds were all gone, and I even saw huge Monarch butterfly flying by my car in the parking lot. I had a feeling this was going to a better day. I put on Howlin' Wolf's Greatest hits and scarfed down a crunchy peanut butter Clif bar from Trader Joe's, not bad at all. I also had some more pecans. Keep in mind when you go to Sequoia, you need to take your own chow with you.
The Giant Forest is about an hours drive up the mountain from the park entrance. The park fee is $20 per car for seven days access.
Big Trees Trail
My first stop was the Giant Forest Museum. It was only about 40 degrees outside so I put on a sweat shirt to keep warm. I asked the woman ranger in the museum where a good trail was, and she said her favorite trail was The Big Trees Trail. The trial head was right outside of the museum door. See the sign above. It is a wooden plank trail that goes around a meadow surrounded by giant sequoias. It's pretty level so it should be accessible to most people. The photos below really don't do justice to just how beautiful these old trees are, but you definitely get the idea.
General Sherman Tree
The next stop was to see the giant General Sherman Tree, which is the largest tree in the world by volume and is thought to be 2,300 to 2,700 years old. There are two access points to see the great tree. The closest point for persons with disabilities is just a short distance from the parking lot. However, normal access is made from a parking lot high above the tree. It's about a mile walk down the hill. For the walk back up, there are lots of strategically placed benches to sit on and catch your breath.
While walking down the hill, I saw a black bear which was quite exciting. I had never seen a black bear before. Unfortunately, I didn't have Intelligent Auto Mode on so most of my pictures were blurry except the one below.
General Grant Tree Trail (Kings Canyon)
"The General Grant tree is the largest Giant Sequoia in the Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park. It was named in 1867 after Ulysses S. Grant, Union Army general and the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877).
President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed it the "Nation's Christmas Tree" in 1926. On March 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the tree a "National Shrine", a memorial to those who died in war. It is the only living object to be so declared." - Wikipedia
The General Grant tree trail is very close to the Kings Canyon Visitors Center so you could stop there and catch a bite to eat or explore the center. Also, the Grant trail is right off the road and provides easy access.
I walked through the Fallen Monarch tunnel, which is kind of surreal in the best possible way.
I then headed over to Oakhurst, CA, where I stayed the night in the American Best Value Inn. The hotel was almost empty. It was pretty reasonable and very close to restaurants and stores in Oakhurst. It has decent Wi-Fi. However, the breakfast bar was pretty sparse. I just had some toast. I picked Oakhurst because it was only 14 miles from the entrance of Yosemite National Park, and I was tired of driving for the day.
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