Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 21, 2017. Hiking in King's Canyon National Park.

This was the day we picked for a long hike. I checked out the map and decided that it would be quicker to drive around and enter at the north end of King's Canyon park rather than drive through Sequoia.

We'd had enough of motel breakfasts so we drove to Three Rivers to a small bakery/cafe we'd seen yesterday and had a great breakfast before setting out on our adventure.

It took 2 hours to drive to King's Canyon, and another hour driving within the park to get to Road's End, where the bulk of the trails in this park begin.

The views along the way were truly breathtaking!

We drove on the King's Canyon Scenic Byway, with rock cliffs on one side and steep dropoffs on the other. There were sections that had a short wall between us and the canyon, and other parts that had no wall, no guardrail, just sheer dropoff to the bottom of the canyon.

We could see the river far below us in the canyon when we stopped at an overlook. We went to a park store and bought their last can of mosquito repellent ($10), having heard that the mosquitoes were vicious on the Mist Falls Trail.

Mosquitoes were not the only worry! There were also bears and snakes to consider!

The first two miles of the trail were flat, sandy and hot. Once we got into the forest the trail became steep and rocky, but at least there was shade. We came upon a family whose son was crying and swatting at his head, driven frantic by the mosquitoes, but we were not bothered.

On the way up the trail we met a man with two small children. We spoke with them a couple of times, since they stopped to rest and we passed them, and then we stopped for a snack and they passed us. I was very impressed that these small children were doing this strenuous hike!

The man with the children took our photo at the Mist Falls point on the trail, 4.7 miles from the trail head. The kids were both still happy.

Toby really wants to go rock climbing, but I have not found a local outfitter running tours. This would sure be the place to do it!

A rattlesnake crossed the trail in front of us on the way back to our car. Toby heard the rattle, I got out my camera, and the couple behind us ran away screaming. The snake was not interested in us at all.

About a mile from the end of the trail, 8 miles hiked by then and back on the flat section, the little girl had had enough. Dad picked her up and carried her on his shoulders the rest of the way. The little boy was still running and skipping along,picking up interesting things along the way. Tough kids!

 After the end of the hike we went to get gas for the car. I had asked a ranger where the nearest gas station was and she told me Hume Lake, a community just outside the park. It was 6 miles down a winding road with steep dropoffs (of course). But we got fuel before it was critical. I should have gassed up before we started our day!

Then we headed for Grant's Grove to have lunch, which was now going to be dinner since it was already 4:30!  After dinner we walked the short path to see General Grant tree. While smaller in volume than the General Sherman tree, it is larger in circumference.

There was an old sequoia tree trunk at General Grant's location. Toby is 6'3" tall, so you can see how large this tree trunk is!

We decided to take the out-of-park roads to get back to Three Rivers, since it is so much quicker than going through King's Canyon and Sequoia Parks to get home. The first sign said curves for the next 31 miles, but I did not stop for the photo until this, the second sign.

Below is the park map with a sample of the roads we've been on all week. There are no straight flat roads here!

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