Rich woke up again today. Just can’t say that enough.
Noises start early at the John Muir Lodge. I got the guys up and moving at 8:00 to start the day.
We went down for breakfast at the restaurant. Nothing big to speak of. Just regular breakfast stuff.
We checked in at the Visitor’s Center and got some info on the shuttle buses. Then we headed into Sequoia National Park proper to find the General Sherman tree. Now this general is the world’s largest tree by volume. The tallest trees are in the Redwood Forest in northern California. But this general, he is big.
We got to the lot and parked. At the top of the trail, there was a nice entrance. The trail leads down about a mile to the tree. Along the way, there are signs and exhibits. We saw the sign that said we were half down the tree. We looked around before we noticed a very big tree straight ahead of us and behind some smaller trees. Now that was big.
Walking up to the General, we noticed a tree lying beside it on the path. Turned out, this was just a limb from the General that fell and they left it as part of the exhibit. You could touch it and it was huge. Amazing that this was just a limb and not a tree.
We decided to take the Congress Trail through the groves of big trees. This trail was a 2 mile walk up and down the hills to see the other big trees that were in this part of the park. It was called Congress for the other tree names in these groves. We saw the President, the Senate, the House, McKinley, Lee, and lots of other sequoias. Many of them had evidence of fire and damage. But no matter how damaged the trees might be, they only needed some part of their limbs to reach the roots to survive. They seem to do this very well.
At the bottom of the trail, we caught a bus headed to the Giant Forest Museum. The bus took us by the Lodgepole Lodge and a couple of other areas. We finally made it to the museum, which was small without too much to see. From here, we hopped a very full bus going to Moro Rock.
Now Moro Rock is named for the roan horses that pastured there with the Spanish. There are 400 steep and narrow steps that take you to the top of a rock formation. From here, you can look out to both sides of the valley. I made up only halfway before I decided to wait in a small area with stone seats. I had been to the top over 20 years ago, so I knew what I was missing. I wanted them to see it.
Rick and Rich continued up to the top. They were gone for a very long time and I was wondering if they fell off. Rick appeared beside me before I knew it. Somehow, I missed his descent down the mountain. Rich finally caught up with us. Rick, of course, is zipping up and down the mountain with no problem. Rich and I had to take our time coming down the steep steps.
We got back on the shuttle bus to get back to the museum again. However, we had to ride it around to Crescent Meadow, the Tunnel Log that you drive through, and then back to the museum. From there, we got a shuttle back to our vehicle. It had been a long day. But since it was only 3:30, we decided to come back to the lodge for dinner and then head down to King’s Canyon National Park.
I had been down to King’s Canyon when I was here over 20 years ago. Since we had time, it was worth the trip. Now this is another downward trip to drive into the canyon. It was steep, but few cars were out on the road. Much better drive on when it is you alone.
Halfway down, I hit a snake lying in the road to sun itself. It was black and white and not something I recognized. The next snake was a rattler that I missed, according to Rich since I didn’t see him. The next snake was already dead, but just a plain garden variety snake. I got a picture of my black and white one on the way back up.
We got to Yucca Point and wondered why it had this name. Then you look out and realize that the mountain and the sides of the roads were covered with blooming yuccas! We stopped to take pictures because it looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. They were beautiful though.
We finally got down to the King’s River and the road ran beside it. We took pictures of the rapids and some features in the river. It is a very fast flowing river. We made it to Grizzly Falls about 6:30. After taking pictures of the falls, we decided to head back up to the lodge. It seemed to take forward to get down to the bottom, but only took an hour to get back to the top. We stopped at Junction View to take pictures of the valley as the forks of the river met. The hazy wasn’t too bad today.
At the top of the road, we decided to go back to Chicago stump. The road was rocky and dirt. After a mile, the sign said we had another mile to go. Nope, I gave up. I didn’t want to be stuck on this road when it got dark out. So we headed back out of the wilderness without seeing one bear.
Back at the lodge, I called Claudine, Rich’s cousin, to arrange our meeting in Santa Monica the next night. We are having dinner and getting reacquainted. Should be fun. We are hoping to see the LaBrea Tar Pits, Santa Monica pier, Venice Beach, and Rick’s favorite gaming producers, Naughty Dog.
As I’m typing, the guys are discussing how to attract a bear to the lodge. Someone is hooting and hollering out there tonight. They wondered if the bear got someone already.
Well, good night. Tomorrow, we drive to LA and spend the night is Santa Monica. Vacation is almost over.