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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks

When we made our reservations in Olema, Ca. we intentionally planned our departure day to be Sunday, October 9 knowing we would have to travel the outskirts of San Francisco and go through Oakland. We have always heard that Sunday mornings is the best time to travel through the large cities due to lighter traffic. Well, all that is well and good if there's not a football game in town! When we  hit I-580 near Oakland, traffic became really heavy due to an Oakland Raiders football game and evidently folks get to the game early because all six lanes were packed. We finally cleared the congestion and had smooth sailing the rest of the way to Coarsegold, Ca. where we stayed at Yosemite  RV Resort, the closest RV park to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park.  Yosemite is a huge park with no roads going east and west. All the roads run north and south due to the Sierra Mountain Range. We traveled the southwest corner of the park, which is the most popular section. As we've traveled farther south into California, we've noticed  how dry the state is. All the grass along the roads and in fields is brown and we've seen a lot of streams that have either dried up or have little water in them. I saw a report on a local TV station that the state has been in a drought for six years with no end in site. We saw a lot of trees in the parks that have died due to the drought and pine beetle infestation. We spent three days in Yosemite and then traveled further south to the town of Visalia, Ca. where we stayed at Country Manor Mobile Home Community for three nights. We plan to explore Sequoia National Park and nearby Kings Canyon National Park while here.   Visalia and Tulane County are the crown jewel of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley of California and is ranked number one in the entire nation in the production of milk, and all types of fruit and nuts. There are orchards on virtually every road you travel that goes mile after mile after mile, and in between orchards you will see many oil wells.

From here we plan to head further south and get dangerously close to Los Angeles to visit The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Coarsegold, Ca near Yosemite National Park.

This is the closest park to Yosemite, but I wouldn't stay here again.

The sites were mostly dirt, very dusty, pretty tight but did have full hook ups. We payed $53.16/night which was no bargain but it was the best we could find that had availability.

Entrance into Yosemite. Our Senior pass was accepted. Best money we've ever spent!

The first overlook we came to and the first thing we noticed was all the dead pine trees. The rangers told us they were dying due to the drought and pine beetles.

You pass through a tunnel not far from the entrance to Yosemite and as you exit the tunnel you see this overlook and view. It's called the Tunnel View and you can see Bridal Veil Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan all from this exit.

I took this shot from the overlook looking back towards the tunnel. The tunnel is about 1/4 mile long.

Seems like we see more and more tour buses in the national parks and hear very few people speaking English.
Bridal Veil Falls

Closer view of Bridal Veil. The falls plunges over 600 feet to the valley floor below. In a brisk wind the water is often blown sideways and little reaches the bottom. There is much more water flowing over the falls in the spring.

The ravens in the west are very smart and will put on a show for a little bread. You're not supposed to feed the wildlife in the parks, but you know how that goes.

Famous El Capitan rock formation that towers three thousand feet over the valley floor. The elevation of the formation is near ten thousand feet above sea level. The cliff is a popular spot for rock climbers and typically takes four to five days to reach the top. 

This creek  had little water flowing through it.

Terry and Kathy's Jeep in front of El Capitan

Remember what I said about not feeding wildlife!  Made a good picture I thought.

We don't see squirrels like this at home. Look how big his feet are.

Terry leading the way with Kathy behind and then Crickett. About thirty seconds after I took this picture, I stepped on the edge of the pavement, lost my footing and took a nasty fall. I skinned up both knees, right wrist, but hurt my dignity more than anything else! I'm still just as graceful as ever!

We've seen very little color in the leaves on the west coast. Nothing like we see back home in NC. This tree caught our eye and stopped to shoot it.

Scenic overlook on the way to Glacier Point.

One of four waterfalls we could see at this overlook. It was cloudy while we were there, so not ideal picture taking conditions.

View of Half Dome formation

Another waterfall, If you look closely, you can see a lake above the falls.

Another section of same overlook.

Glacier Point overlook.

Interesting formation as seen from Glacier Point.

Walkway to Glacier Point Overlook.

Visalia, Ca. where we saw Sequoiah NP and Kings Canyon NP.

We found this park in Visalia that is a primarily a mobile home community but does accommodate RVer's as well. It's a 55+ park, extremely clean. with good sized sites and full hook ups.

Ours and Terry and Kathy's sites. Sites were full concrete with grass yard and full hook ups for $36/night. We sure were happy to be out out of all those dirt sites that were so dusty.

Speaking of dust, notice how dusty this car is. This is an agriculture area with very little rain and the whole area is extremely dusty. I had our truck washed while there and two days later, it was covered in dust, but not as bad as this Chevy.

We can check another one off our bucket list!  I thought this was a cool sign.

Visitor center at Sequoia NP.

Terry and Kathy climbed on top of Tunnel Rock but we chickened out as I was still nursing my Yosemite injuries. The road into the park used to pass under this rock but has been rerouted.

Beautiful Giant Sequoia tree at the museum that has been named The Sentinel. 

Here it is, the largest tree in the world!  The claim is made by total volume, not height. The Redwoods are taller, but the Sequoias are larger in diameter and are large all the way to the top. All the Sequoias in the park are fenced off so you cannot get close to them.

Terry and Kathy at the Sherman

I couldn't resist this shot of this little guy taking a nap on his Dad's back while at the General Sherman.

This trees are truly majestic.

Top section of a Giant Sequoia that fell prior to 1900. It is hollow all the way through to the roots and you can  walk through the tree and come out the root section.

Inside the giant.

Kathy checking out the root section. They have a photograph on display where forestry workers and troops actually slept inside the tree in 1900. The tree is pretty much the same today as it was then even though it's dead.

This is the world's third largest tree, The General Grant located in Kings Canyon. The back side of the bottom of the tree has a huge scar from a fire, but continues to thrive.

These trees are a pretty cinnamon color.

Fruit orchards are everywhere in Visalia. I had to stop and see what was growing on this trees, and it was oranges. Do you recall seeing "Halo" oranges in the grocery store? Well they probably came from here.

These Sequoias were not fenced off and you can get close to them. This tree has a burned out section on the back side where you can walk through it.

Notice how large the trunk is.

Ponderosa Pine that is over 300 years old and is a sapling when compared to the Sequoias.

This Sequoia actually fell across the bridge and pathway which had to be rebuilt.

Notice the limb growing vertical on the right side of the trunk of this giant.

They have had to cut all the dead pines in the Trail of 100 Giants Park because of the possibility of them falling on visitors. It's such a shame to see all the dead trees. So far the Sequoias are unaffected by the drought and beetles. They are truly resilient trees. 

This large Sequoia had a burned out section in the base. If you look closely through the hole, you can see Crickett waiting on me.

Beautiful California countryside.


1 comment:

  1. All beautiful. Interesting info about the sequoias. Must have been cold - I saw coats. Watch where you're stepping! lol. Betty