Kings Canyon NP to Sequoia NP

Sequoia National Park Travel Blog

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General Sherman Tree- largest tree in the world!

9.21.08 Kings Canyon NP to Sequoia NP

 

Another beautiful day!  We saw both the world’s largest tree (the Sherman Tree) and the world’s second largest tree (the General Grant Tree) in the beautiful parks.  And we had our “moments.”

 

We left Kings Canyon NP today after first visiting to Road’s End and several gorgeous waterfalls:  Grizzly and Roaring Rapids

 

Then we attempted to see the Converse Grove and the Boole Tree.

Converse Grove stumps
  The Converse Grove is a sad burial ground of the dead stumps of giant redwoods, which was the largest ancient tree grove on earth before it was ruined by loggers in the 1800’s.  The Boole Tree was the only giant tree that the loggers had the sense to leave standing.

 

Let me just say that there are few places that Ciao Baby cannot go.  We found one of those places today.  Afterward, I awarded myself a “Lightbulb Award” for a *really bright idea* (NOT).

 

First, although the road to the Boole Tree is marked on the map as a dirt road, it never advised against RV’s or oversized vehicles, as it did for several other roads.  It also never said that it was a one-lane road with hairpin turns that required beeping the horn nearly continuously so we didn’t smash into anyone. 

 

But we did fine on that rather stressful road for two miles to the Converse Grove.

Congress Trail huge trees!
There we discussed with a motorcycle guy and his wife about the location of the Boole Tree, just half a mile up the road. 

 

Yes, our trouble came with the ill-fated decision to continue the half mile up the turnoff.  Now I’m telling you that if you have a “turnoff” from a terrible road, you should just stop there because it is only going to get worse. 

 

We took the hill of red sand at a good speed so we wouldn’t get stuck.  Then we realized that the trees were closing in, we couldn’t see how bad the road was over the hill, and that if we continued, we could get terribly stuck in the deep, rutted sand.  I could just imagine explaining to AAA Road Service where I was located.

 

So we stopped right there near the top of the sand hill and a huge cloud of dust from our efforts blew from behind, temporarily blinding us.

Redwood Trees in roadway headed south out of Sequoia NP
  The air cleared.  We scouted our options.  No way to turn around as there’s just a small opening to our left with even deeper sand.  What to do, what to do…

 

Back down.  That’s right.  We backed right down the hill at a rather brisk speed so we could get over a hill in the middle and out of the sand before getting stuck.  It was a fair distance, the farthest I’ve ever had to back up.  We made it without falling off the road or running into anything!  

 

The motorcycle guy, who’d been watching these antics from Converse Grove just below, had wisely moved out of the roadway as we came flying backward down the hill.  I stopped Ciao beside him and said, “Now *that* was a BAD idea.

Converse Grove stump
  You saw nothing!”  He blinked just once and said, “No.”  I’m sure he considered me insane.

 

We still had to turn around before we could get out of there, and there was just one sandy, narrow place.  We went backward over it, then forward.  Back- tried to go forward- we’re spinning wheels!  Stop before we spin a hole up to the axel!  Back a little more, and then we pulled forward - out of there!  Hallelujah!  2 miles on the bumpy, dirt, one-lane, hairpin turns, horn-blowing road, then back to the main road, and about an hour before the shakes left my hands.  Whew!  I’ll have post-traumatic nightmares over that one, I’m sure.

 

Let it be known that I just read the above account to Charles, my co-pilot at the time, and he agreed that none of it was exaggerated.

Converse Grove stumps
  In fact, he thought I understated the trauma.  Ahh, the great things my kids are learning out here on the open road!

 

By comparison, the Generals Highway south through Sequoia, where RV’s over 22’ are “not advised,” was a cakewalk.  Ciao did fine on all the hairpin turns, never leaving her lane.  It was just another small, mountain road with beautiful vistas and lovely trees.

 

The Rangers had made such a big deal about that road yesterday, saying things like “It’s only one and half lanes” and “some people get stuck as they cannot make the turns” that I was cautious.  But today when a Ranger asked how long Ciao is, I told her, “just a wee bit over 22 feet” and it was just fine.

Huge Sequoia in General Grant Grove
  I’ll bet buses take that road and nowhere was that paved, well-lined road ever less than 2 full lanes.  Our shimmy through the redwood trees at one point was tight, but that had nothing to do with length of the rig.

 

So the driving and the enormous Sequoia trees were the excitement of our day.  The Parks are just beautiful and when we went to Lodgepole Campground to assess availability (plenty of room tonight), they said we were welcome to use the dump station (free) and look around.  In doing so, we met another Lazy Dazer, Chuck from CA, who has a 2005 Mid-bath the same colors as Ciao Baby.  Of course, since we haven’t washed Ciao since Haines, Alaska (!), she is not looking her best and I’m embarrassed for all our Lazy Daze friends to see her.  Still, it is worth stopping to meet new friends.

 

Oh, we also had a 10-minute wait while the firefighters burned a “tree line” along the road.

The Fallen Matron- Huge Sequoia in General Grant Grove
  That way, if the forest fire heads that way, it will not jump the road and become out of control.  In the 1960’s it was learned that fire is one of the best things that can happen to forests and Sequoias as it allows for sunlight to reach the forest floor, for the cones of seeds to melt open, and for ash to fertilize the growth.  So rather that fully suppress forest fires, they now try to control and oversee them as naturally as possible. 

 

Anyway, the one lane road leading past the smoking roadside fire, fire trucks, and firefighters was eerie.  It renewed our respect for firefighters.  We had the windows closed and were complaining of the smell while they were outside, breathing in that acrid air without any breathing aides.  We were also stunned by how little we could see with all the smoke.  I cannot imagine how they can battle a fire in that environment where you cannot even see the sun during the day.

 

We are camped tonight in the southern campground in Sequoia, called Potwisha, and it is thankfully now an sparsely populated, non-weekend night.

Beautiful views headed south out of Sequoia
  That gives us a full 5 nights with no campground competition from weekenders.  Being a fulltimer is great fun, even it is just temporary for us.

 

Ciao Baby crossed 118,000 miles on the odometer today!

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General Sherman Tree- largest tree…
General Sherman Tree- largest tre…
Converse Grove stumps
Converse Grove stumps
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Redwood Trees in roadway headed so…
Redwood Trees in roadway headed s…
Converse Grove stump
Converse Grove stump
Converse Grove stumps
Converse Grove stumps
Huge Sequoia in General Grant Grove
Huge Sequoia in General Grant Grove
The Fallen Matron- Huge Sequoia in…
The Fallen Matron- Huge Sequoia i…
Beautiful views headed south out o…
Beautiful views headed south out …
The Fallen Matron- could walk thro…
The Fallen Matron- could walk thr…
General Grant Tree- 2nd biggest tr…
General Grant Tree- 2nd biggest t…
Converse Grove stumps (note the m…
Converse Grove stumps (note the "…
General Sherman Tree- largest tree…
General Sherman Tree- largest tre…
General Sherman Tree- largest tree…
General Sherman Tree- largest tre…
General Sherman Tree- largest tree…
General Sherman Tree- largest tre…
General Sherman Tree- largest tree…
General Sherman Tree- largest tre…
General Sherman Tree- largest tree…
General Sherman Tree- largest tre…
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Congress Trail huge trees!
Smoke from fire in Sequoia
Smoke from fire in Sequoia
Redwood Trees in roadway headed so…
Redwood Trees in roadway headed s…
Beautiful views headed south out o…
Beautiful views headed south out …
Beautiful views headed south out o…
Beautiful views headed south out …
Curvy and hilly road headed south …
Curvy and hilly road headed south…
Beautiful views headed south out o…
Beautiful views headed south out …
Sequoia National Park
photo by: travelwithsuz