Sunday, December 22, 2013

Yosemite Trip 2013 - Part II

This post will cover day three of a trip my dad, Jacob, and I took at the beginning of September 2013.  We had spent the first couple of days making our way to California and then crossing over the southern portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  I was excited to start the day since we were finally going to experience some national parks!

Day 3 - 198 miles

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First up was Sequoia National Park.  Just outside of Three Rivers we found the entrance, paid our fees, and began our ascent into the western foothills.  The views were astounding, when we didn't have the sun in our eyes.  That problem disappeared when we finally reached the shade of the giant sequoias.  We were surrounded on either side by trees that defied belief.
Ahhh, just what we needed, natural sunscreen.
My dad, putting these trees in perspective.
So we're tooling down the road and I see a sign for General Sherman, but it says you have to park and catch a shuttle to see it.  While I didn't know exactly what General Sherman was, Yes I figured it was a big tree, I assumed there'd be plenty more of them down the road.  The thought of getting on a shuttle didn't appeal to me, at the time, since I was having too much fun riding.  It's at this point that my dad catches up to Jacob and I and gets us to pull over.  We spend the next five minutes discussing whether or not we should go back before my dad finally makes an executive decision that we're turning around.  Good thing that he did, otherwise we would have missed the worlds biggest tree.  Here's Jacob and I in the parking lot.  Turns out the shuttle was only for people who didn't want to walk a 1.5 mile trail to the General.
Jacob kept stating he could make out some Ewoks hiding among the tree tops.  We had to explain to my dad what an Ewok was.
Ladies and Gentlemen, General Sherman!  The largest tree by volume.  The circumference of the base is 102ft or 31meters.  My dad and I had to wait for our turn to get our picture taken.
I took this picture while we were waiting.  I tried to put some people in it and get the entire tree.  No luck, it's too big!
The walking trail wound around and in-between these mighty trees.  My dad and Jacob posing for effect.  When we reached out and touched the bark, of the Sequoias, it felt soft and sponge like.  I expected them to be hard like pine trees.
After spending some time exploring the trees we were ready to ride again.  We continued heading north, deeper into the park.  We would occasionally pull over at scenic overlooks and admire the views.  The peak in the center of this picture is Spanish Mountain.  While the higher peaks, between the trees on the right, are Mt. Reinstein and Mt. Goddard.

Next up, we started our decent into Kings Canyon National Park.  An amazing road for motorcycling!  You switchback your way down 8200 feet and eventually end up heading off into the canyon on the right, where you ride along the Kings River.
Panoramic from the same location above.
About half way down you'll find the King's Canyon Lodge.
We pulled over because my dad spotted these above ground pumps.  Turns out they're America's oldest operating gravity pumps.  You could buy 91 or 87 octane for about $6 a liter if I remember correctly.
There was also a huge bear trap hanging off one of the lodge beams.  Wouldn't have wanted to get caught in one of those back in the day.

Heading farther down we eventually reached the Cedar Grove Lodge, where we bought some hotdogs for lunch.  I walked down to river to wet my bandana for the ride up.  Down it the canyon it was a lot warmer, probably upper eighties.
There's only one road in, and one road out, of Kings Canyon, so we headed back the way we came.  On our way out we had to stop and check out the General Grant tree.  Currently the third largest tree in the world, President Coolidge declared it the nation's Christmas tree in 1926.

The parking lot was full, so Jacob and my dad decided to make their own parking spaces seen below.  I was concerned about parking tickets so you can barely make out my bike above the red SUV in the center. 
Everywhere you looked, more huge trees!  You never really get tired of looking at them.

And here's General Grant.  They believe this tree is somewhere around 1650 years old.  Absolutely amazing!

An older trunk that had fallen down quite some time ago.  One of the signs stated early settlers used this trunk as a make shift shelter before building the Gamlin Cabin.
I was born in 1972, so I was staring at something that was built 100 years before my time.    I always assume that reality didn't start until I showed up on the scene.  This blows my theory out of the water.

The day was starting to get get late and we still had a ways to go.  So we pressed on.  We descended back into the western foothills of the mountain range.  As we dropped in elevation the temperatures started to rise.  This was overlooking Pine Flat Lake, an artificial lake created back in 1954.  You could tell Southern California has been experiencing a drought by how low the water line was. 

When we did stop, it wasn't for long.  The moment you didn't have a stream of air flowing over you, you'd begin to sweat.
Luckily for us the place we had planned on stopping that night was the town of Shaver Lake, with an elevation of 5600 feet.  The perfect elevation to get us out of the heat.
I had called ahead, for reservations, at a place called Shaver Lake Village Hotel.  It was a good thing that I did.  The owner had already closed by the time we arrived, but had left an envelope pinned to the door with our room keys.  This place was great!  If you're ever in the area this is where you should stay:)
After unloading and getting settled we walked down the road to find some grub.  I thought this truck load of bears was pretty cute.  Stand back! They look pretty vicious!
We found the local pizza joint, still open, and decided to give it a chance.
Their pizza was amazing!  We ordered up a pitcher of beer and took a look over our route for the next day.  I think this ended up being my favorite night of the trip.  Just a good time right in the middle of a great adventure.
Next post Yosemite!  Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. What a fun day. I always love to see the Giant Sequoias. Amazing to see how big they really are. And who can resist hugging a tree?

    Good times. Looking forward to Part III.