Monday, January 15, 2018

day 1 + 2: sequoia + kings canyon

It's been almost 3 months since we were on our last big adventure, but needless to say time has just flown by with a bunch of crazy busy and I haven't had any time to go through these images and blog until now.  Which is amazing!  This has been one of my busiest years to date and feel so honored that God has given me this amazing business to run.  BUT that also means my personal blogging  and photography gets put on hold.

Better late than never, so here we go!!

Sequoia and Kings Canyon - California

In early October Joe had another conference in southern California and of course I was all about another adventure!

Day #1

After a long (5 hour thankfully direct flight) to Los Angeles, I had to pickup a rental car and drive about an hour south to pickup Joe in Anaheim.  Once I retrieved him our next stop was 5.5 hours north to Sequoia National Park.  Well really In-and-Out Burger, then Sequoia!

All week Joe had been sharing pictures from Anaheim and how close all the fires had been to where he was staying.  Quite scary!!  Not much had changed once I got there, as the fires were still burning and the air quality was still quite poor.  On the drive north you could barely see any of the hills or mountain ranges that we were driving through.  Fortunately where we were headed there was only one fire in Sequoia, but not where we were going to be.

We made it to the visitor center at 4:28pm (closed at 4:30) to grab a detailed hiking map.  Just before our lodging destination, we stopped at the Lodgepool Market to grab some groceries so we could make breakfast, sandwiches and what not, as where we were located there was only one restaurant - Wuksachi Lodge. 

When we checked into the lodge, we asked the receptionist about bear activity in sequoia.  She said they were quite active.  We asked if they loaned out bear spray (as Banff did) and she said no.  She said bear spray is ineffective (not true as most injuries from bears are people without bear spray) and black bears are like giant dogs (right...) and they don’t want to bother you anyways (that part may be true).  Somehow grizzly bears (in Banff) scared me more than black bears, but surely bears are NOT big dogs!

Finally checked in!

We bought one set of frozen dinners for the first night as we were both exhausted and just wanted to relax, but come to find we had no microwave in our room (or on the premise).  UGH!  So we headed back to the Lodgepole Market where they had a community microwave and we sat to have our dinner.  Here they also had indoor showers and other amenities for the overnight hikers.  Pretty neat!

Travel time ~ 11 hours.

Day #2
Joe was apparently acclimated to the time change as he slept past 5am, I was up at 4am ready to go.  Fortunately our wake up calls weren't quite as early on this adventure as our hikes were closer to our lodging AND it was below freezing every morning.

Sequoia National Park - Giant Forest Loop

Once again we were the ONLY car there upon arrival.

General Sherman Tree Parking Lot
Joe apparently needed to document this

General Sherman Tree - largest giant sequoia by trunk volume

~ 2,000 years old
275 feet tall
36 feet in diameter
4.188783 million pounds

One of the park signs said, "Looking up at the General Sherman tree for a 6 foot tall human is about the equivalent of a mouse looking up at a 6 foot tall human!".

It's quite incredible to see all of the old fire damage that exist on these trees.  It was noted that some of the bark on the trees can be as thick as 3 feet.

Chief Sequoyah

You can see a bit of smoke hanging over the mountaintops 
(above and below images)

At some point Joe lost our trail map (yep that one we barely got at 4:28pm before they closed), which may have led to some stress on my end.  Joe realized that I am a much happier hiker when I have confidence as to where I am.  I mean who wouldn’t?

Great place for our lunch break!

Tree trunk

One of Joe's favorite photos (below) even though it's a cell phone picture.

Well at least the USA knows how to use trail markers (unlike Canada, see marker above). Although, I will say that Sequoia didn't have any trail names anywhere.  There are a lot of cross-sections and when someone looses the map (eh-hem Joe) it can be a little disconcerting not know where you are and which trails to take as we were hiking 5-6 trails that day that lead us back to the parking lot.

Mule Deer (below)

This is when I wish I had a zoom lens...  EVERY SINGLE adventure trip we take I pack up all my lenses (24, 35, 50 and 85mm) and BEFORE every trip I say I should just order a 24-70mm.  BUT to no avail I never do...


Tharp's Log is a hallowed giant sequoia log at Log Meadow in the Giant Forest grove that was used as a shelter by early pioneers.

Interior of Tharp's Log

What we think MIGHT be a ptarmigan (images below).  He/she is a bit hard to see due to the ground color and bird color camouflaged in so well.

I was using my 24mm as I didn't have time to change lenses out and the ptarmigan was playing hide and seek behind the tree.

Chimney Tree

As you will notice almost every photo has one of us in it, just to show the sheer magnitude of these trees.

On our way back we made a quick driving detour to see where it would lead us.  Right to a buck!  He was apparently not afraid of people as I got out of the car, opened the trunk and walked about 6 feet away from him according to Joe.  I still think I was further than that.  Joe then kindly asked me to get into the car.  I think he was fearful of how close I was.

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