Saturday, November 1, 2014

Off the Beaten Path: Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon

We drove into Sequoia National Park from the south, and found the hairpin turns up into the mountains to be manageable. The Rangers at the visitor center were helpful, and provided us with a more detailed map than the one we had. We stayed in the Park, at Wuksachi Lodge, rather than drive in and out each day. The scenery was gorgeous, and the stargazing was phenomenal.

For those of you who live closer to sea level, the elevation of 7,000 feet may not be bothersome, but stay hydrated and stretch before you embark on your walking, climbing, and hiking adventures. We tackled Moro Rock first, and I felt nervous about the spaciousness which left me feeling like an ant! I don’t believe that my fears about safety were warranted, but I was glad that Mr. Spice walked down ahead of me.

We walked around Crescent Meadow, which was lovely. This is a great place to build in some picnic time and relax. Remove from your vehicle all food, beverages, and hygiene products that may have a fragrance, and store in one of the metal “bear boxes” next to the parking area. 

I thought I went to the gym often enough to also visit the Crystal Cave that afternoon. I managed the hike down and back up, but was really worn out by the combination of activities. I feel kind of wimpy admitting my pain, but would rather save someone else the pulled hamstring! The cave was neat, and I’d recommend it. Bear box near the parking area again, and this time we saw a bear on the way back up from the cave- far enough away to not be nerve-wracking.

Finally, Mr. Spice insisted on a visit to the General Sherman Tree. I was pretty wiped out, but didn’t want to sit in the car while he saw the giant sequoia! “Its’ only half a mile each way” is irrelevant if the total for the day is 9.5 miles. Perhaps my physical exhaustion tainted my impression of the tree, but I liked the General Grant Tree in King’s Canyon the next day much better. 

We departed Sequoia and headed north through King’s Canyon, detouring at Mr. Spice’s request to see another grove of sequoias. I cannot recommend this stop highly enough- it was really neat! Autumn is a good time of year to visit without tremendous crowds! If you've visited these parks, do you have a favorite part?

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