Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Days 117 - 119: Giant Trees, LeTigre, and Bears, Oh My

So, Kings Canyon was kind of a bust after LeTigre's breakdown.  Once I had her fixed it was after dark so we just got a motel room in Visalia, CA and called it a day.  The next morning, LeTigre back to her old self so we headed to Sequoia National Park to see some more Giant Sequoias.

Sequoia is just south of Kings Canyon.
Probably the coolest entrance sign we've seen.

View of Moro Rock on the way into the park.
The first thing we did was drive up to get a closer look at it.  I got Kipper out of the van to stretch his legs and as we're standing there he freezes, staring at something, and then starts barking (he rarely barks). I figure it's a squirrel...

Nope!  A black bear ambles by!

Moro Rock is a big bald granite dome with a few stairs to take you to the top...

...and the view is well worth it!

"Stay Inside Railing", no problem.

Remember that bear?  Take Two.  Here he takes a shortcut thru "Tunnel Log," a mile or so down the road from where we saw him at Moro Rock!

LeTigre follows!  How many campers can drive thru a fallen Sequoia?

We took a hike and noticed that there was some controlled burning going on.  This is a fallen sequoia with hot embers still smoldering in the center.  National Parks let fires burn as long as they don't get out of control.

Yep, same bear.  Came back from the hike and he was foraging near the parking lot.

The Sherman Tree.  Biggest of the Sequoias.  Note the black part of the trunk, that's fire damage.  The trees are so old that most of them have some scarring from fires.  Their bark is about a foot thick and usually protects them from any serious damage.  What kills them?  Shallow roots.  A strong gust of wind can topple them.

That's a biiiigggg tree.

The fallen Sequoias are typically left where they lie unless they're dangerous.

Camped for the night.  We're discovering that the National Parks are shutting down as winter closes in.  This campsite was half closed and no one ever came around to collect the camping fee from us.  Oh well!

This is not the same bear that was following us around before.   The next day we're doing "Congress Trail" near the Sherman Tree and here's this guy foraging for something right off the trail.  Hard to see but he's wearing a collar which means the park staff is monitoring him so he doesn't become a nuisance bear.

Sherman Tree from a distance to illustrate it's size.  Can you see the tiny people at the bottom of the picture?

So after getting our fill of Sequoias, we headed for Death Valley for a change of scenery.  This is not Death Valley.  This is Lake Isabella, where we camped for free on our way to Death Valley!

We liked it enough to stay two nights!


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