Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Sorry about posting this one out of sequence and without pictures,  but it was such a great day,  I wanted to get it out there to let you know I am still traveling and there will be new posts,   I will catch up on the other posts and the pictures as time  (and internet connections allow….)


Today was the near perfect day.  I woke up in the Costco parking lot (undisturbed) not too far from the Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Park.  I got onto the National Park Website, and found out they had Halloween tours of Crystal Cave starting at 11:00,  so that was my destination for this morning.  I filled up with gas at Costco  (at only 3.84 per gallon).  Nice it was finally back below $4, and headed towards the park.  About 9:00 am I got to the southern Foothills visitor center just in time to get tickets for the 11:00 cave tour.  With the a black bear (#9 was just in the road for a while),  windy roads and the construction delays, I made it there  about 10:20.   Just enough time to get all the food out of the cab of the truck  (bear region again)  and get ready for the tour.


It was  a great tour with “Ghosts” telling the stories of the cave (with a little, but not too much embellishment).  It was really a lot of fun, especially since there were some kids on the tour that asked questions,  got scared at the booms, and just had a great time.  Good thing I checked the website this morning,  and did the long drive last night, because there were not any cave tours again till November.  I would have completely missed the cave.    I talked with the cave tour ranger and asked where else I should go for the day.  She mentioned that this was the last night that Kings Canyon was open and that I should head that way if I wanted to see and photograph it (I would have missed Kings Canyon too),  so that was the direction for the day.


Along the way,  I passed many sights and a bunch of giant trees in order to make it to Kings canyon for the last night of the season  (I will take more time to see all that I drove through on the way back though over the next few days).  It was a couple of hour,  very nice drive from the south end of Sequoia and all the way to the end of Kings Canyon.  Along the way there was an old lodge that had working gas pumps from 1928.  This was the highest price I had seen yet.  $1.60 per liter or about $6.40 per gallon.  Luckily I didn’t need gas,  but I got an ice cream cone from the lodge.


I made it to the canyon and drove all the way to the end, stopping at some waterfalls and photographing as I went.  At the end there is just a turnaround road, and I headed back to the Sheep Creek campground for the night.  It was really a nice campground and I found a site next to the roaring river.  There was plenty of wood and I chopped one log into a number of sections to build a large fire.  I even started the fire without matches (or a lighter) by using the coals that were still hot that someone left burning the night before.   I enjoyed a nice Merlot wine from Chateau St Michelle (WA) and waited for the coals.    I had some corn on the cob and a prime ribeye steak that I cooked over the fire as the stars started to appear, and as the full moon slowly rose over the valley.  I think this is turning into one of my new favorite park/parks!   A near perfect day…

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