Day 14 – June 22, 2016
Mileage – 76,884
Sequoia National Park, CA
This morning we woke up in shifts on the edge of a meadow to the sound of the birds. Kevin did his short walk around the RV while he and Jenney waited for the girls to wake up. The smell of cooking oatmeal seemed to lure Teryn out of bed.
Finally we headed off to the Lodgepole visitor’s center for Teryn and Logan to get their junior ranger books and seek some hiking advice. Having already seen the General Sherman tree last evening we opted to find a route that was more secluded and off the beaten path. Our eager National Park volunteer recommended a great loop by Crescent Meadows, at location that offers lots of Sequoia’s, some cool history, and a chance to view wildlife.
With a plan set for the day, we headed back to the RV to grab our pack, load up on water, and head to the free shuttle to our hiking destination. Kevin, suddenly excited about something, grabbed the camera and ran toward a crowd of people by the shuttle. Teryn joined him while Jenney and Logan had no idea what was going on. The excitement? Two black bears, one brown colored, and other black colored. These bears were off in the woods just hanging out a safe distance from the lodge.
After the excitement of the bears, we jumped on the shuttle to our hiking location at Crescent Meadows. Started on the trail and right away there was another gathering of people looking into the woods. This time we opted to keep walking because one person exclaimed they saw a momma bear and her two cubs. While it would have been very cool to see these three, getting near a momma with cubs is NEVER a good idea. Fortunately Logan did glimpse one of the cubs. We had a great hike around several meadows passing huge Sequoia trees – both living and long passed. We passed Tharps Log – a fallen and hollowed Sequoia once made into a cabin and Chimney Tree – a hollowed out Sequoia still standing. Along the way we encountered small critters and other really cool natural features like the huge cone from a Sugar Pine.
After completing our hike we hopped on the shuttle to head back towards the Giant Forest Museum. Here we found a wonderful spot for lunch and a great rock by the start of the Big Trees Trail for Logan and Teryn to work on the Jr. Ranger program. Meanwhile, Jenney look in the sights and smells from a bench in the sun. Having completed their hour of academic work, Logan and Teryn were once again sworn in as Jr. Rangers for the 6th time on this trip. This is a great program of the National Parks system that encourages young people to spend a little more time while visiting the park to learn about the natural and cultural significance of the park. In addition, it is often a great way to spend a few minutes with a Ranger who are often fun, informative, and great with kids. As we left the museum we took at look at The Sentinel Tree – one of the oldest trees in the park estimated at 2,200 years old!
Finally we headed back to the RV with a plan to reach Yosemite by night fall. However, we had one last stop before leaving Sequoia – General Grants tree. General Grants tree has the distinction of being one of the widest trees in the world with a diameter of 34.2 feet and a circumference of 107.5 feet.
The long haul to Yosemite had us arriving just outside the park at dusk, once again Jenney scores with a sweet USFS campsite near the southern entrance of Yosemite. We settled in for the evening excited about the adventures Yosemite will hold.