Sequoia National Park

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In August 2019 we drove our motorhome to Sequoia National Park and camped there for 4 nights.

We had to enter Sequoia National Park via the north entrance (because vehicles our size are not allowed through the southern entrance), making it a 5-hour drive from home. Since we don't like driving our motorhome more than a few hours per day, we stopped in Visalia for the night.

The next morning, we started hearing the sound of a rooster crowing in the distance, but since we couldn't see it, and it kinda' sounded like a sick rooster, we thought it was someone imitating a rooster, and said "Linda's version is much better." Then lo and behold, he stepped into view and slowly headed our way.

He even jumped up on this tree stump just outside our cockpit window and crowed. He seemed like he was making the rounds in the campground making sure everybody was awake.

Cooper was riveted as the rooster ambled about our coach. He had quite a bit to say to the rooster; I wish I knew what it was. Maybe he was scolding him for all the chatter ;-) We decided the rooster may have sounded odd because he was a little hoarse from all that crowing.

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

As we entered the Giant Sequoia National Monument, there were no Sequoia trees visible yet, but we didn't have to wait too much longer for an improvement in the scenery.

When we left Visalia, the temperature was 100 degrees. After starting our climb into the mountains, we stopped for lunch at a shady spot where it was "only" 80 degrees.

Cooper enjoyed the lunch stop from his usual spot.

As we entered Sequoia National Park, it was finally starting to look like a real forest.

There are 14 campgrounds within the park, but only 6 accept reservations, and only 3 can handle vehicles as large as ours. We had reserved our spot at Dorst Creek Campground because we could fit there, it's considered the quietest, and it's served by the free park shuttle.

We think our site, #47, was probably the best, because it was pretty private, well shaded, fairly level, and had a large sitting area. Of course, choosing this site was not random; Chris had researched it in advance, as usual.

This was our 'patio' for our stay here. On the left is the 'bear locker,' where campers are instructed to store ANY items that a bear might be drawn to (and it includes toiletries, not just food). This is primarily for tent campers--they recommend you place all these items in the bear locker, not in your vehicle. The ranger told us on check-in, that even in our motorhome, any time we left it we should close all windows, all blinds, and all vents, even the vents on the roof!

The view from our dinette window shows that this campground is in a pretty heavily forested area.

Cooper enjoyed the view from our bedroom window.

Barley didn't always care about the view, but he thoroughly enjoyed the sun streaming in our living room window.

The next day--our first full day there--we rode the park shuttle over to Lodgepole Campground, and hiked the trail to Tokopah Falls.

The trail followed the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River, sometimes very closely, and other times a bit further away.

Chris wanted a shot of me on this 'seat' perched at the edge of the trail with the river right behind it.

Another scenic spot for a photo. There were lots of large, flat-ish rocks/boulders on either side of the trail that you could walk out on and they let you feel a little bit closer to nature (not just on a hiking trail), and this was one of them.

We're not sure what the name of this peak is. There are two peaks named 'Big Mount Baldy' and 'Little Mount Baldy,' and this could be the little guy, although he's not quite bald ;-)

Several sections of the trail were bordered by these vivid yellow wildflowers.

Some parts of the trail were quite wooded...

... and some parts passed through open meadows.

Though you can't see it in this photo, this little meadow had a few purple, as well as lots of yellow wildflowers.

The river/creek water had a slight greenish tint to it, reminiscent of a patina of some sort, but we couldn't find any information about mine tailings, or something similar, to account for it.

The trail offered scenic views all along the way.

We really enjoyed the section of trail passing through a cool fern garden.

Quite a dense carpet of them!

The Topokah Falls drop 1,200 feet in a series of cascades.

Back in our campground, we spotted these plants (as we walked in through the 'exit' direction of our loop), that looked like gigantic dandelions.

Back in the coach . . .

. . . the kitties left the bedroom--where they'd napped all day--and relaxed with us. You know kitties . . . 'Nap, Relax, Repeat.'

On our second day, we rode one park shuttle over to Lodgepole Campground, then switched to a different shuttle for the ride to the Giant Forest area of the park.

The Giant Forest Museum had a very nice example of a Giant Sequoia (named "The Sentinel") right outside its front door.

The museum had some really cool, informative displays about the Sequoias, including information about how particular they are with respect to climate and altitude, and that this is the only place in the world that they occur naturally.

Isn't it amazing that something that can grow so big starts with such tiny seeds!

From the museum, we followed the path towards the Giant Trees Trail. That's the road passing through the park, but the Giant Trees Trail is also paved (sans lane lines ;-)

If you look very closely, you can see people on the right (standing in the shadow of this tree) for scale.

The Big Trees Trail begins at the "Ed by Ned" Tree, a pair of two sequoias growing so close to each other that their bases merged together.

In a small clearing at this point in the trail, they've laid out paving stones reflecting the size and shape of the base of the conjoined trees. And here Chris is standing in it for scale, although the angle is so oblique that it's hard to get a good feel for it.

The Big Trees Trail circles around the Round Meadow, which allows you to see a collection of sequoias from a distance, instead of always looking up at them.

Again, if you look very closely, you can see people standing below that tallest sequoia just right of center.

We were surprised to find a babbling brook flowing through the meadow.

After our hike, we hopped off the shuttle at the Wuksachi Lodge to check out the beer from Tioga Sequoia Brewing.

Ahhh . . . the pause that refreshes.

And of course every great outing ends with winding down back in our coach, enjoying some quality time with the kitties!

We had planned to use our third day to visit the General Sherman tree and walk the Congress trail, but between the crowds for that outing that we witnessed while on the shuttle, and my poor feet (still hurting a bit from our day 1 hike), we decided to just chill at our lovely campsite enjoying the nature nearby. We watched this Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel furiously digging-up and chowing-down on food he/she had previously squirreled away.

And now, alas, it's time to say goodbye to cooler temperatures and scenic views and head for home. At least we already have plans for a short getaway to a nearby beach in mid-September.