Redwood National Park – Part 1: 6/26 – 6/28/19

The Redwood Coast consists of many State Parks that work cooperatively with the National Park Service.  Usually, the National and State Parks operate separately but that is not the case for the Redwoods.  It has to do with how the land was purchased.  Most State and National Parks charge an entrance fee.  You can purchase an annual National Park Pass for $80 and then entrance to any National Park is free.  For entrance into State Parks, you can purchase a daily, weekly and even monthly pass in each state.  For some reason, we NEVER had to pay or show our pass in the Redwood National and State Parks.  Go figure.

“The Redwood Tree is the world’s tallest living tree – monarch of the North Coast -living link to the Age of Dinosaurs.  Redwoods grow from seeds the size of a tomato seed yet can weigh 500 tons and stand taller than the Statue of Liberty.  It’s foot-thick bark makes the tree all but impervious to fire and insects.”

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We would spend the next three nights at Klamath River RV Park.

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Our peaceful, tranquil site was located directly on the river.

9F1F6F33-36A6-4007-8A97-8C1352BC7508.jpegCan you spot our RV across the river?

C4077B45-D04B-437E-8E06-AAF2254E75BCOur first hike was to The Tall Trees Grove.  You have to get a special permit and a combination code at the Visitor’s Center in order to enter the gated access road.

6463A86A-ABB9-43D7-B546-0354B51266BFWe travelled down a wooded, winding road until we got to the trailhead.  As we hiked, there were fallen Redwoods that hovered over the trail.  Scott had to duck every now and then.

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E4EE39A4-C061-4ADD-B328-456418EA832ASome trees were even cut into to allow access down the path.

D1C88B72-7764-4D8A-BCB5-5822C8AD6BD4Each tree had its own beauty.  Some barks were very bumpy near the ground.

CE592BE5-2895-4376-9BC5-264BC0DDA3D4Yet, when looking up, they were all towering towards the sky.

AC4FB76E-1BD5-4330-A21C-07084000FBDEAnd, if you are lucky, you may see a burl (a dome-shaped growth on the trunk of a tree) that looks like a deer.

CF5501F1-F281-44BB-906B-EF55C8CE0369Then, there are the Redwoods that have “hollowed out” at the bottom.  You can walk under them as well as through them.

85A1D5B2-B26D-4B58-8ED2-84C02B51B836While the grove consisted of mostly redwood trees, there was another odd looking tree with arms that extended from just above the ground to the height of the tree.  The moss seemed to attached itself to every branch.

61A7A50D-3A8B-41B6-B964-0F07BBBBD2FE.jpegAnd, of course, there were beautiful wildflowers scattered here and there.

Our next stop was at Lady Bird Johnson Grove.  This trail is handicap accessible and one of the more popular tourist spots.

A1D5CB94-CC09-400F-8817-81EFDF469CDD.jpegAfter you park your car, you take a short walk on a bridge over the road below.  (The picture below was taken on our way back out.)

48A7CE99-C302-41C0-82BA-7B68601D0914.jpegThere is a numbered trail map that is available for a $1.00 donation, or you can just borrow the map and return it at the end of your tour.  The actual dedication took place about half-way into the short loop trail.

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D76E5097-CC52-43A1-884D-587E36BC0658.jpegThe trails were wide with hundreds of Rhododendron bushes, and there were still a few “rhodies” blooming.  This place must be magical in the springtime.

0AE9C465-DE04-4526-9BD1-952440D1A037It was fun catching Scott capturing the beauty surrounding us.

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Before heading back to the trailer, we drove to High Bluff Overlook.

A530C41C-44CC-4F79-B05B-2D3A6FC56B46What a magnificent view! The sound of the ocean water crashing against the large boulders below was breathtaking.  The drop is straight down and there are no barriers to stop you from falling over if you get too close to the edge.  So, we looked very gingerly even though we wanted to get closer.  It was pretty foggy out, but I took a few pictures anyway.

18CFB9F8-16F4-4C25-B367-98DA885A2EFDC8A982C7-ACB0-4D24-BED5-8F8A8ED64038Scott returned later for sunset pictures.  Be sure to check out his gallery.

 

Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California: 6/22 – 6/26/19

We had to say goodbye to our first guest.  We dropped my friend, Liz, off at San Francisco Airport and returned to Olema Campground to pack up.  We got back on Route 101 north and drove as far as Richardson Grove Campground, which is located in a little town called Garberville.

38999E08-75B8-4884-B8B6-ABEFDCD15C3AThis was another old campground as evidenced by the signage and bathrooms.

133FA098-34FC-4DC8-B905-7F032ADAA061Once again, I am happy that we have our own shower.  Directly across the street from this campground was Grandfather Tree.  (If you zoom into the first picture above, you can see the signage for it).  It turns out that the original owners of the land named the tree and created the signage to bring in more tourists.  Their plan worked!   Below is a pano shot of this mighty Redwood tree.

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227E72BD-9AAE-4850-85B2-841FD8B2183C.jpegWe were only staying there for one night. Around 8:00 p.m. on June 23, we were sitting in our trailer playing Scrabble when all of a sudden it felt like someone was shaking our trailer.  The movement lasted about five seconds.  Scott and I just looked at each other.  Then, our neighbor to our left, came out of his trailer yelling, “That was an earthquake!  We just felt an earthquake!”  We later learned that it was definitely an earthquake that registered 5.4 on the Richter Scale, but we were not near the epicenter.  It was well north of us.  The picture below shows our neighbor’s trailer as well as our own in the spot where we were when we felt the earthquake.  We are very thankful that is was just a baby quake.

47A9132E-AA15-488A-A93B-2DBE9CC6DE25The next morning we continued north, driving basically parallel to Route 101 on the famous scenic byway called “Avenue of the Giants.”  This 32-mile scenic drive covering Humboldt Redwood State Park features many stop-off points where you can park and take a short hike.

9E30242A-F37B-4486-A891-47A801971FA0We stopped at Franklin K. Lane Grove first.  It was a short easy trail surrounded by green fern, three-leaf clovers, and many mighty Redwood Trees.  The Redwoods are taller than the Sequoias, but some of them are almost as massive in terms of girth.  Below are a few photos of both alive and fallen trees.

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Next stop, Redwood National Park!

 

 

 

 

Point Reyes National Seashore: 6/17 – 6/22/19

We actually booked our next campsite back in February.  It was the only campground that we booked in advance because my friend, Lizzie, was coming to visit us on specific dates in June.  My hope was to be able to stay in one of the state parks in Marin County (Samuel P. Taylor State Park or Tomales Bay State Park), but Olema Campground was the only one that had vacancies, and we booked it over four months out!

5824D994-EE10-415F-A307-1A2A852C2B5CWe were put in Site #144, a nice, shaded area located towards the back of the campground.  It is difficult to REALLY know what you are getting when relying on websites.  Pictures can be old and outdated.  The clubhouse/registration area had seen better days, but the staff was quite friendly.  The Post Office on sight had been closed for months due to flooding, and the repair work was slow moving.  When I made the reservation back in February on the phone, I was told that our site was right near the water (Olema Creek).  Well, the “water” was almost dried up, and many bushes and trees blocked us from it.  Still, it was a nice, quiet spot toward the back of the campground.  Our first night was quiet.  The rest of the week, the place was filled with young campers.

A5A8C38D-E3F8-45D9-B513-6ABEB7A34E62The next morning, we picked up Lizzie at San Francisco Airport.  We got her settled and then drove a short five minutes to the quaint little town of Port Reyes.  We strolled about and found a bakery to die for.  Liz would need to stop at this bakery every day she was here.  The treats were to die for, and there was always a line.

One of the reasons that we picked Marin County was because our beloved Yoga Teacher, Natalie, had moved to the west coast many years ago.  Liz and I used to travel two hours round trip to attend Natalie’s yoga classes in Central New Jersey before she moved out west.  We always talked (teased) about having a girls weekend in California to visit with Natalie, and it finally happened.  We were so lucky to be able to spend two days together with her, even though we didn’t do any yoga.   The other reason we picked this location was because it is directly next to Point Reyes National Seashore, which was on my list of places to see while traveling through California.

4A2CE17C-F82C-4FBE-8C9B-08BCF515C4D1A friend of mine had been to Point Reyes with her husband and said that they have the BEST fresh oysters that you shuck yourself.  What I did NOT know about Olema Valley is that it lies directly on the San Andreas Fault, where the Pacific and North American continental plates meet.  This is where the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake initiated when the peninsula leap 20 feet northwestward in less than a minute.  They say it could happen again in 30 minutes or 300 years.  Ouch.  Scary.

Scott was our chauffeur and Natalie was our tour director.  We started at Bear Valley Visitor Center to collect maps and some information.  Then we drove on Sir Francis Drake Hwy toward the most western-tip of the peninsula, near the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Unfortunately, the access road to the lighthouse was closed, so we headed to Chimney Rock.

1D2F5713-EE73-4799-8A88-7B156967E7A3As we got closer, we were able to see Elephant Seals resting along the shore.  They didn’t move very much, but they were most certainly alive.   We got a close up view with Scott’s binoculars, but in the still photo they look like grey rocks or logs.

02812627-D48D-4854-A0CA-59056D220417Our next stop was Drakes Beach.  It was a beautiful, very private beach surrounded by rocky cliffs.

167C57B2-A50E-4CEE-B4B5-856B51600436EB1C5E47-69EA-46AF-8471-70002316CF95Scott decided to check out the water temperature for me.

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E2992972-2B96-4628-B82F-53675E6AC594We moved on to Hog Island so that I could indulge in eating the BEST oysters I have ever tasted!  The gal demonstrated how to shuck the oysters, and, thankfully, Scott watched along with me. Then, they send you off with a rubber glove and tools.  You can pretty much guess what happened next.  I mean, just look at those tools!

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The next day Natalie joined us again and we headed to Muir Woods National Monument. On the way, we pulled over to have our picture taken above Muir Beach.

EEFB2649-E335-40E5-842B-53B356F79AA1When we arrived at the entrance to Muir Woods, the parking was full.  (Again, you need to make a reservation in advance to park your car!)   Scott dropped the three girls off so that we could have a little time together.

AB8A2D44-DD81-4EB4-9FE9-7ACD6A50B844You can walk the paved Redwood Creek Trail (also called Main Trail) in less than an hour.  You can also choose short, medium, or long loops off the main trail.  We chose to take an out and back trail, Canopy View Trail, which was an easy dirt trail that gained elevation slowly with its many switchbacks.

DDC9A4A0-F42C-4F2D-80D5-0978C38274FF.jpegEventually, we needed to turn around and go back down to Main Trail.  We continued into Cathedral Grove, which is considered a sacred place, as many of the Redwood Trees are between 600 and 800 years old.

74C9593C-BF16-42E6-9DB9-12894312045F.jpegOur chauffeur picked us up and we took a ride southeast towards Sausalito, a quaint Italian-flare village.  We walked around Gabrielson Park for a bit, and then stopped to watch young people navigate their sailboats on a very windy day.

E8F6BB3E-E543-4791-BB96-2DBA649CA5C7We had to say good bye to Natalie with a promise to be back again in the future.

The next day Scott, Liz and I headed to San Francisco.  We talked about taking the ferry across the bay, but it was pretty windy and chilly.  Instead, we drove over the bridge and parked for free at Crissy Field Center.  Liz and I began our walk towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

C173BB2A-74CC-439A-A250-85995352E854We walked halfway across the bridge, enjoying the view but not the noise!  Afterward, we joined up with Scott again and walked for a few miles along the water towards the piers.  We got as far as Fort Mason and hopped on a cable car to Union Square.

E2123EA8-EF57-499E-942B-B71CD6F3D8C6Union Square is a miniature Times Square, filled with tourists, street musicians, and many places to shop.  And, of course, we saw the same sign again that we have been seeing since arriving in California in early May.  No worries.  No big deal.  It’s just not a sign that I have been accustomed to seeing having grown up on the north east coast.

69DDE9EF-8227-43F7-81C1-224FF43A36ABEarly the next morning, we drove Liz back to the airport.  Scott and I returned to Olema Campground to pick up the trailer, and headed north.  Our next stop is Redwood National and State Parks.

Lake Tahoe: 6/13 -6/17/19

We continued driving north in California.  We spent the next several hours on State Route 49, also known as the “Golden Chain Highway” and the “Gold-Rush Trail.”  SR 49 is a north-south highway that passes through many historic mining communities of the 1849 California gold rush.  Highway 49 is numbered after the “49ers”, the waves of immigrants who swept into the area looking for gold.  Some of the towns we passed through were quite small and many had closed-down businesses.  It was exciting, though, to think about how rich some people became as a result of finding gold in this area a long time ago.

Lake Tahoe wasn’t on our original list of places to see while in California.  We thought that if we had extra time, we would drive by and check it out.  Since we were not able to find a campground at Yosemite, we decided to head north towards Lake Tahoe, and we were happy that we did. Here is a map of the area.

18E464C7-E3B9-48B4-856E-B160224E5741We entered from the south from Route 50 to 89 N.  There are only a few RV Resorts on Lake Tahoe that can accommodate trailers longer than 15 feet.  We were able to get a site, #162, at Fallen Leaf Lake Campground, but just for one night.  Without a reservation, they can only provide walk-ins with a one night stay.   We set up camp for the night, and off to sleep we went.  We got up early the next morning and took our bikes down to the Fallen Leaf Lake to do a little exploring before we had to leave.  You can see more snow-capped mountains off in the distance.  It was quite beautiful.

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95D994A4-A548-4E7D-B191-900244E138B2Afterwards, we hooked up the trailer, got back in the truck, and took a ride around the western shores of Lake Tahoe in search of our next spot.   One of the first state parks that we passed was the famous “Emerald Bay” obviously named for the crystal clear blue-green water.  This picture taken from the car does NOT do it justice.

 

21E1EC8A-1B80-4222-97FF-8CF8A107BEA2We continued farther north and found Sugar Pine Point State Park, which could handle larger RV’s.  

12B33830-C259-4C02-9E3E-BD899A33E55BSome government parks only accept on-line reservations 48 hours in advance.  They do, however, save a few spots but you are only allowed to stay one night.  I guess the concept is that they don’t want to turn away desperate, tired drivers.  They had a group spot, #44,  available for one night only.  We were told to check back the following morning after 9:00 a.m. to see if we could have that site (or possibly another site) for a second night.  This process continued for each night we stayed.  Luckily, we never had to move from the first spot.

70B75220-1287-4943-8982-989282823D43We got settled and then took a drive north to get our water toys inspected.  The inspection is free and mostly for boats with engines that can easily collect species from other waters in their motors.  They looked at our watercraft, asked where we were last, and then gave us the okay.  We stopped for a cold drink at River Ranch Lodge in Tahoe City before heading home.  

The following morning, I had my second bear encounter.  It was very exciting!!  The first video shows an adolescent Black Bear wandering outside our trailer.  I was inside our trailer taking the video.  He was meandering his way over to us when a noise startled him and he ran off.  Watch the video to see what scared him.  

Soon after, the bear started back towards our site.  If you zoom in, you can get a better look at him.  He was so close to the trees that it was difficult to see him.

Scott was cooking pancakes and the smell must have been drifting outside of our window.  The bear was just outside our door, about ten feet away.  Scott suggested that I open the door to get a better video.  My heart was racing with excitement and a little fear.  I knew if he started at me, I could just jump back into the trailer and close the door.  The bear appeared to be docile and non aggressive.  I opened the door, and began filming my conversation with the bear.  It went something like this, “Go bear. What do you want?  Why are you here?  This is my breakfast, not yours.”  The bear was tilting its head from side to side as if to say, “What are you talking about?” After a very long 30 seconds, I shut the door with excitement not believing that I had just talked to a bear!  Only problem was that I did not have the recorder on.  I must have hit it twice.  No video of my never-again-to-be-had experience with a friendly, real bear.  Gosh, I wish I had that video to share.  I will NEVER forget that moment.

Later that morning, we drove south from our campground to Baldwin Beach.

2D5D637D-5791-43E5-9A19-77770052819DWe parked our car in the lot, which was about a two-minute walk to the water.

1720CC00-5EB4-42AB-A7B8-AB16E515EB72We had to walk over a wet pond area in order to get to the beach to launch our kayaks.

FEA89D70-8B17-4164-96D0-D150B978796BScott and I carried my kayak together first, and then I waited by the water’s edge while he went back to get his.  Some locals offered to take my picture since I was struggling with my selfie.

EFE0D4C8-F62C-4049-8296-AC5964A26103It was a perfect day but we don’t have any more pictures from the water to share.  Scott had the GoPro but our footage is not post material.  The water wasn’t very calm as we had to deal with wakes from passing motor boats and jet skiers.  Scott did well on the Stand Up Paddle board.  I did not fair as well.  Not only did I lose my balance, but when I fell, I landed on my bad knee, and then I fell into the water.   We kayaked as far as Emerald Bay, only to realize that it looks so much prettier from up above.  The water, however, is clean and clear.  It reminded me of Lake George.  Below is a picture of Emerald Bay from the road above.

D8D1A410-06D4-4B5C-ABC0-EF762936C2B0We would like to come back to Lake Tahoe.  Next time we will make a reservation in advance.  Our next stop is Olema Campground near Point Reyes National Seashore.

 

Yosemite National Park: 6/11 – 6/13/19

As we drove out of Kings Canyon, I was in awe of the winding road coupled with the sound of the rushing Kings River and the natural beauty of a canyon.

Now, we were on our way to Yosemite.  Over the years, I had heard many people talk about the beauty of Yosemite.  Finally, we were about to see first hand what everyone had been talking about.  What we didn’t know is that if you plan to stay anywhere in this National Park between late May and September, you have to make a reservation about five months in advance.  Alas, we were unsuccessful in finding a place to stay inside the park, but we found a lovely place about 34 miles outside of the park at Yosemite RV Resort in Coarsegold, CA.

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BD8F6436-59A7-48F0-87F3-85AE813A0739It was dry and HOT…100 degrees hot.  Even the little bit of shade by the picnic table did not ease the heat, so I went up to the pool to socialize with other traveling folks.  Surprisingly, the pool water was cool and refreshing!  We got up early the next morning to drive into the park.  It was about 54 miles to the start of the hike we had planned, and it took almost two hours to get there.  It was 6:45 a.m. when we took this photo.

14591C7E-AE40-484A-A67C-05C93A90A66AScott had selected the popular Mist Trail, a 8.3 mile round-trip hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls.

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Part of this trail joins with the famous John Muir Trail.  It is a strenuous uphill hike with an elevation gain of 2,082 feet.

BA94299C-35A4-4596-8525-D269821C2C88We made our way over the Vernal Falls Bridge, not knowing what was to soon come.

F2B75077-2284-4973-8AB0-1F2B8555E2EFThe dirt trail was rather wide, with rocks lined up along the sides as borders.  The drop off on the left got steeper as we walked up the canyon.

A8E4CB78-AB03-4BFB-8B65-568105EC454FToday Scott used his Go-Pro rather than taking still photos.  I didn’t know that he was going to include in his footage my half mile ascent up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps.  The hiking pamphlet (that we saw AFTER the hike) warned climbers to “prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer.”  We were prepared to get a little wet, and we both put on our raincoats as we began to feel the cool mist.  (I would later refer to the experience as a “Nor’easter”.)  I had no idea it would feel like we were stuck in a bad rainstorm, or that after Scott passed me on the steps, that I would have a coughing/asthma attack coupled with snot streaming out of my nose, as I was pummeled with what felt like a water fire hose.  I am sorry if I have grossed anyone out, but the truth is that I was having a bad moment.  I just wanted to get to the top, out of the blast of water.  Scott’s six-plus minute video below captures snippets of the entire hike.  Expect a bit of cloudiness in the footage while he filmed what I have been referring to as the Nor-Easter.  You can decide for yourself what to call it.  Better yet, come to Yosemite in June to see for yourself.

Zoom in to the next photo.  Besides capturing the beautiful rainbow, you can see hikers making their way up the winding staircase, feeling the powerful, wet mist from this massive waterfall.  It certainly didn’t look or feel like a Nor-Easter from up above.

802BE7CE-9C0C-477F-9F8D-B21A49A84276As we walked up even higher, the rainbow was still apparent.  I became a happy camper again.  Rainbows bring out the best in people.

84806CAA-9036-4B6A-9FBD-4D3086EED51EWhen we reached the top of Vernal Falls, we found a plethora of people drying out on the rocks.  We walked down to the edge where you could stand close to the top of Vernal Falls.

D6725DBD-6C23-47B6-B2BF-2385299C475CAround the bend, we found a quieter spot to dry ourselves off.

BB35B64E-BCC0-40F9-A4E3-9DEE8DE3661BWe continued on our hike to Nevada Falls.  We were just below the top of it in the following picture.

38845A74-2C39-42A1-B21A-629EF70D9485.jpegWe kept on hiking for another mile or so, and then we stopped to look back on Nevada Falls along with the exquisite granite walls.

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At the end of Mist Trail, I noticed an unfamiliar container and wanted to get a closer look.

73D16B71-8688-44BB-BB63-DBBE177FB02EIt was empty…I guess on call.

It took us a couple of hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get out of the park.  As we drove along the winding road back to our campground, we decided that it wasn’t worth it to stay outside of the park since it involved too much driving back and forth.  Unfortunately, we decided to leave the area and head up north to Lake Tahoe.  Yosemite, we will be back!

 

 

Kings Canyon National Park: 6/4 – 6/11/19

We headed north towards Kings Canyon National Park with the hope of getting a spot in Sheep Creek Campground, which is located in the park.

950C2663-C35E-4EED-B412-A5FAD653EFD7Sheep Creek Campground had a delayed opening for today, Friday, June 7, as a result of an unusually high winter snowfall.  They were behind schedule for cutting down the dead trees, and they had to push the opening to June 29.  We were able to find a spot in another park campground, Moraine, which typically only accepts online reservations.   They made an exception due to several campground closures in the park.  They accepted walk-ins, but just for that day.  It was spacious with lots of trees providing shade.

1F3E7DCA-389F-49EC-9C7D-7B4FDA95A4A6Once the we were all set in Site #81, we took the truck and went to see a popular spot called Grizzly Falls.  There was a small parking lot off the main road, and only about 30 steps to the falls.

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0052E371-BB74-4D17-9D66-E8A9996E58A3You are not able to climb up to see the top of the falls.  You can get as close as you wish to the bottom, which was where the photo opportunities take place.  The closer you get, the wetter you become.  We had to wait in a “tourist” line to take our photos, so Scott wandered off to the side of the falls to check out the scenery there.

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Directly across the street from Grizzly Falls was the rushing Kings River.   We enjoyed listening to the sound of the river, too.

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We returned to camp and took a twenty-minute walk through the woods to the Cedar Grove Hotel, which was on the other side of the river from our campsite.  The “hotel” looked more like a rugged, old cabin, and it was situated right next to Kings River.  Unfortunately, the food was on par with a fast-food restaurant.  It did had lounge chairs lined up along the river’s edge, which was a nice touch.

BB1096D7-33BD-4783-96EC-F6F08E424E26Additionally, there were two pay phones outside of the hotel.  Notice the “FREE CAllS” options.  I certainly do not recall these options back in the day before cell phones when I recall using a pay phone.  LOL

I thought it would be fun to call my daughter collect from the pay phone.  (I didn’t really think about the logistics of this call.). She got a call from an unfamiliar number, asking her if she would accept a collect call from “Susan Fisher”.  Once she said “yes”, they asked for her credit card number.  It was no longer funny.  She hung up.   I could have easily used MY credit card to call her from the pay phone, but that would have taken away from the fun of calling her collect.  You can see in the video how funny I think that I am, until she doesn’t answer the call.  I didn’t realize that she had denied it until later.

The next day we hiked about 13 miles round trip along the roaring Kings River to Mist Falls and Lower Paradise Valley.

1B54EA77-9C92-4F08-9CB7-959B48B4BCEDThe first two miles of this hike was a lined, dirt path that ran along the rushing river.

070496A8-31BC-4A06-A784-FDB384D52AD0The landscape was not only picturesque with colorful flowers along the way, but the river was roaring down the canyon in a spectacular show.  It is pointless to try to have a conversation unless you shout. Listen for yourself.

As we got closer to Lower Paradise Valley, we could no longer hear the sound of rushing water.  Instead, we were climbing up switchbacks of rocky steps for about a half hour.

6C37A797-C608-471A-9121-3A3A4A308E95It finally leveled off as we reached the beginning of the camping area (reservations required), and found a nice rock on the water to enjoy a peaceful lunch.

B89002B8-ED33-43D5-87C8-574BBD2BB331As we turned around and made our way back down, you could see snow capped mountains in the distance.   Simply gorgeous!

B6D8448B-07CB-4989-A6CD-AAD626060127We also saw several lizards, one Rattlesnake, one King Snake, and a Mule deer, however no pictures were taken.  You will have to take my word for it.

On our last day in Kings Canyon, Moraine Campground began their weekday schedule of burning dead trees.  The smoke was beginning to encroach us, so we decided to take a hike on the Don Cecil Trail.  The trailhead was located in our campground.  It was a 4.8 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of almost 4,000 feet.  This would not be an easy hike, but it would take us away from the smell of smoke.

A6898BA8-7992-4B36-9D0D-206723ABCC04Less than a mile in, we crossed over Sheep Creek Cascade.

E77B4FBB-F268-4BB2-BE91-11FC32FCAD8DIt was a pretty warm day, and we both were sweating.  As we looked off to our right, we could see the cool, snow-capped mountains.

CA32D0F3-48ED-417E-B8A4-12DD5D7D39E4A little farther up, we could see the smoke bellowing from below.

FB14701E-D01C-4149-AF99-A874F80BEB1BFor the first time, we saw a red alien-looking plant that I thought was a flower.  You tell me.

291B0C7D-9AA9-42D3-8138-FA40CB4D74C6

1FCB7D97-2A1F-462A-8B86-85E2251B0866

In case you really want to know…

Sarcodes is the monotypic genus of a north-west American flowering springtime plant in the heath family (Ericaceae), containing the single species Sarcodes sanguinea, commonly called the snow plant or snow flower. It is a parasitic plant that derives sustenance and nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi that attach to roots of trees. Lacking chlorophyll, it is unable to photosynthesize.[1] Ectomycorrhizal (EM)symbioses involve a mutualism between a plant root and a fungus; the plant provides fixed carbon to the fungus and in return, the fungus provides mineral nutrients, water and protection from pathogens to the plant. The snow plant takes advantage of this mutualism by tapping into the network and stealing sugars from the photosynthetic partner by way of the fungus.[2] This form of parasitism is known as mycoheterotrophy.

You’re welcome.

We took a short break so that Scott could fill his water bladder from the stream.  He hasn’t done this since last summer when we were hiking in Colorado.  I don’t find much difference in the taste of our water, but he does.

8D3A4E23-A7F1-4381-B8CA-6DE05C97B0E4As we continued on, there was continued evidence of deadfall among the living.

EAC7CE41-6B35-4231-952B-E9EA975C8CB1This wasn’t a very picturesque hike.  The dead trees made me sad, and the constant uphill was challenging.  Less than one mile from Summit Meadow, I called it quits.  I did NOT want to go UP anymore.  I encouraged Scott to finish the hike to the peak, but he refused.  We began our retreat, and I didn’t look back.

We had paid to stay at Moraine Campground for two more nights, but we left a day early the following morning.  They would be burning trees every morning for the entire week. Next stop, Yosemite National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sierra Nevada, CA – Sequoia National Park: 6/3 – 6/6/19

On the morning of June 4, we drove up to where Scott had parked our trailer in Sequoia National Forest.  Most of the snow that Scott had enjoyed was gone by the time of my arrival.  

B4EE587C-9FC8-4EDB-94F2-EF1B82A90F93

DA1AC997-F461-4C33-BF89-D0E21C07B447Scott took me for a walk around the area.  Not far from our camp was a beautiful stream.

6F6757EB-0421-4A5C-AC94-16A37DA8B0BDAfter dinner, we took a walk in the opposite direction to watch the sun set.  Simply beautiful.  

71457313-91B6-4E17-B585-8E4076E680FAF9B042B4-DA1C-4227-A303-70E79E7B19F8The next day we drove into the park.  What a difference a week can make in June.  

00AFA28B-E241-45C0-9BD1-A94CD9DA7E7F
May 30, 2019
529C7DD0-AE28-40B3-8ABA-23AE88B24F6D
June 4, 2019

Scott wanted to take me to see Tokopah Falls.  It was a short, mostly flat 3.4 miles round-trip hike on Tokopah Valley Trail.

A2B14C44-7EB2-45E8-9EA3-9E26B378B935At the entrance, we saw the following warning sign.  Yikes!

07AA1482-328E-4231-9853-F95E57B1628EIt was a delightful day with warm temperatures and a cool breeze from the water, much unlike the day that Scott hiked here alone.

6AF0E3BC-B149-4552-9AE0-5B98D0FF768C

446FB1CE-67AF-4FA4-A501-943556DF85F2We sat down on a rock for a little while to smell the fresh, clean air and feel a gentle spritzing from the falls.

9E1D6695-87FB-493D-A3C7-CDB2CC91B797I could easily sit all day and listen to the rushing sound of the water.  So, I will share it with you.

Scott has the eye for just where to stand to capture the beauty unfolded in front of us.

568E61A2-94AE-4B5A-A992-FEA949A97819.jpeg Afterwards, we drove to the Sherman Tree Trail, a short hike down to the location of the world’s largest tree (in terms of mass not height).    3A7038E5-56FF-456A-9C8A-FA3D110CF54D.jpegThe General Sherman Tree is massive.  I just looked up in awe of it’s magnificence.

90FBBD4B-6D63-4385-8E86-F694B5453758Here is an panoramic view.

59774D60-9544-4E7A-8DF7-A1351D749DA4As you can see, the tree is fenced off to protect it from human hands.   

As we continued down the path, there were other trees in the park that were more accessible. 

C4902286-72E1-40DE-8AF3-5A40886C416A.jpegHere is a panoramic view.

6211D4EC-6F72-4F7C-ADD1-27115E0B8DBAThen he told me to hug the tree. Of course, I could only grab a small part of it! 0EBA48F5-7E2F-4A97-8D31-2D792625323BAll I wanted was to be one in the same with them.

F6457484-4D16-4E8B-86E4-DE127955AD1FOn Thursday, we headed to Muir Grove Trail, a four-mile round trip hike.  The trail head was located in Dorset Campsite, which was closed due to the cutting down of trees that were in danger of falling.  From our parked truck, we had to walk about two miles down the road and then wait until we were given the okay by park personnel to proceed.  

5BF2BD88-E1B5-4A83-856B-C82763CA151EBelow is a tree that was being prepped to fall.  

1796B2FC-AFB5-4025-B95D-6A2623861FC4We passed the workers and continued towards the trail head.  

C6D0309B-174D-43EC-9D7B-48C9B9F0C3C3We wandered through the pine tree forest for two miles enjoying the almost-silent hum of a small stream and the occasional remnants of snow.  All of a sudden, the sequoia’s made their presence know.  Can you see Scott?

8CAB7A44-6E2C-477B-B2AB-92A330BDC80F Giant Sequoia Trees live in the Sierra Nevada between 5,000 – 7,000 feet.  They are the largest living trees, having more wood than redwoods due to width and height.  They often get mistaken for redwoods (they are the same family and are more like a “cousin” to them).  They may NOT be used for lumber and are a protected resource.  What I found to be so unusual is that for such an enormous tree, they have a cone the size of a chicken’s egg.

513D67D1-71BB-4A1B-9E92-D27841B81BBFScott said, “It would be a magical experience to spend the night in that grove.”  We stood there feeling small amidst the enormity of the sequoias.

C8B04F76-AE0C-4B2B-8C62-C981FAD1949FHere is the view looking up.

6796C609-A84F-4739-8914-1B4D9C83F18A  By the time we got back to the trailer, the clouds had become grey, and we enjoyed a short-lived hail storm.  It was a spectacular day!  Tomorrow morning we will head north to Kings Canyon National Park.