Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July .19, 2017. Sequoia National Park

It was not difficult to get up early this morning after having a 3-hour time change yesterday! In fact, I was wide awake at 4 AM and did not get back to sleep. We went down to breakfast at 7 AM, and we were not impressed...

By 8 AM we were at the Foothills Visitors  Center in Sequoia National Park and were fourth in line to get tickets to the Crystal Cave tour, which is very high on Toby's list of things to do here. We chose the 3:30 PM tour so we could hike in the park before it got really hot.

We stopped at Tunnel Rock, where a road used to go through the tunnel. That road is now closed.

Toby climbed up the hill around Tunnel Rock, coming down the other side.

We had beautiful views on our way up the mountain. It was hard to pass by the scenic turnouts!

We were warned that there was construction on the main park road, and that we could be delayed up to an hour. When the flagperson told us there would be a 15 minute delay I said Thank you! and meant it! While we were waiting for the pilot truck we got out and took photos of each other.

After we were through the construction we drove in among the giant sequoias. We took a short hike to the Colonel Young Tree, named after a Buffalo Soldier who was a protector of the sequoias back when the US military patrolled these forests and mountains.

In that same area is the Auto Tree, which fell down 100 years ago and was driven upon by many vehicles. Here is Toby on top of that famous tree.

We took a slight detour to drive through the tunnel tree. I was a little disappointed--as you can see it is on its side. The tunnel trees I biked though in the Redwood Forests were still standing!

We drove up to the parking lot for Moro Rock and hiked up to the top, elevation 6,725 feet. However, because we had driven most of the way up the mountain, the trail from the parking lot to the top was only about 300 feet in elevation gain.

We could see the Sierras off to the east, still partially covered in snow. The view to the west was shrouded in smog.

After we came back down from Moro Rock, we drove over to the parking lot for the General Sherman, the largest tree in the world. We hiked down to see it, just a half mile hike on easy trail, with lots of steps built in. I was breathing hard on the way back up, not being accustomed to the 7,000 feet altitude.

We had lunch at Wuksachi Lodge, and it was great! This is where I wanted to stay, but they were already fully booked when I called them in April.

We headed to the road for Crystal Cave after that. While on that road we were flagged down by a Park Ranger who told us the cave was closed due to a rock slide. We turned around, drove back down the mountain to the Foothills Visitors Center where we'd started our day. We got a refund for our cave tour tickets; while on our way down we saw a bulldozer on its way up, so hopefully Crystal Cave will be back on the agenda tomorrow.

It was in the 70s up in the mountains today, very pleasant dry weather. However, when we got back down to Three Rivers it was 100 degrees. My fitness tracker told me we walked over 5 miles today, and climbed the equivalent of 47 flights of stairs. I need to remember to tell it I'm hiking so it will track elevation in feet instead of stairs.

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