Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Update and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

I am sorry if I created some worry with my post yesterday about the problem with our home. We are doing just fine and I am sure there was a reason we were stopped here in Pahrump, Nevada. I think I am beginning to learn what that reason is.

The issue with the trailer is a crack in the frame right between the wheels on the door side. It was very fortunate that I saw the problem before it became worse. Here is a picture of the crack:

I called the manufacturer of the frame of our trailer (The manufacturer of the trailer itself is out of business) and they were very helpful. We are set for a full repair on Monday(4/10) of next week. In the mean time we will enjoy our stay in Pahrump.

On Friday, March 24, we decided to get going early and head up Highway 198 to Sequoia National Park. We had great weather as we headed out. The drive up the canyon was beautiful with all of the red buds blooming and the water cascading down the valley.

We went through the gate of the NP and they told us that for now the road was open between the parks and as long as we had 4X4 we would be fine. I have heard from other travelers that since we were there, they had to have chains and the road was closed again by a snow storm. We were very lucky this day.

Everyone has to stop at Tunnel Rock:

Once you leave the entrance station, the road gets even more curvy and steep. The views are amazing. We had great visibility at the overlook.

You can see the road we just drove in this shot:

We just kept on climbing. About this point you may be wondering where are the big trees? Well the Giant Sequoia only grow in very specific places with the right climate. Sequoia was one of the first areas to get federal protection to protect these awesome trees. We finally entered the area called the "Giant Forest". We parked at the visitor center and walked all around the area.

This is a shot of Kim and I in front of the Sentinal tree. This tree is right in front of the visitor center. It is "only" 24 feet at the base. Many of the trees are as large or larger.

Taking pictures of these trees is difficult. It is really hard to capture the scale. We have found you have to put a person in front of them to get the massive size. We also like to hug trees.

Periodically one falls down. They can last for a very long time laying on the ground. The root ball is massive.

We walked through the snow on a fairly flat trail through this massive forest. We almost had the place to ourselves. It was a magical experience.

We then drove on dry roads and stopped to pay our respects to General Sherman. This is the largest tree by volume in the world. It is about 40 feet across at the base.

We each had to take our turn in front of the awesome tree.

The roads were still good, but it started to snow. The snow was deep in the parking areas and along the road.

We drove through the beautiful area and enjoyed the solitude this time of year. We were able to drive all the way to the Kings Canyon Visitor center. We watched an excellent movie about the entire park. Almost all of it is not accessible this time of year. We knew then that this visit would not even count as a drive-by. We will certainly try to come back, ready to backpack into the wilds of Kings Canyon.

The one thing we did get to see was the Grant Grove of giant trees. In this grove lives the third largest tree in the world, the "General Grant". We were once again in awe of the massive size and over 2000 year age.

We had an amazing day with good weather and the road being clear. As we hoped, there were very few people around the parks. We just loved it. They have removed many of the buildings that were built around these giant forests to make the area more natural and to protect the trees.

We then had to drive back down the mountain and it was starting to snow harder. I knew I just had to get to lower elevation to get out of the snow. Well the plan worked except I had to drive through the clouds. We were in this pea soup for about 15 minutes.

After leaving the snow we drove about 50 miles and we were in orange and lemon groves. We drove through the valley by almonds and a number of other trees that we could not identify until we read all about them in another blog. We learn so much that way.

Well that was it for this area, we now were heading to Death Valley NP, but we had one other stop on the way. We even had a surprise visitor. I will write about that in my next entry.

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