Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 22, 2017. At Three Rivers, CA.

We went to breakfast at the cafe again today, and saw John (the river rafting guide) there. He told us about the wonderful views we would see if we drove up Mineral King Rd. A park ranger came in and told us the same thing, but warned us that the road was not for the faint of heart. He said that if I had trouble driving the roads in the park, that I would not want to drive up to  Mineral King Ranger Station.

The Sequoia Park roads weren't an issue really, so we decided to go to Mineral King. It was supposed to be an hour and a half drive, but after an hour I was only halfway there, and it was past 11 AM. I was worried about it taking another hour (and the pavement was ending right there, so maybe longer) to get there, and then whatever we did up there would take time, and another 2 hours to get back to town... I decided I'd met my match, apologized to Toby for backing out, and turned the car around at the park gate (just about the only place on the road to turn around).

On the way back down the mountain Toby took some photos. The first half of the way down we were on the "land" side of the road, having been on the dropoff side on the second half of the way up. That was what unnerved me--it goes down thousands of feet right from the edge of the pavement!

There were very few cars and trucks on the road on the way up, but a disturbing number of trucks came up on our way down! This is a full sized pickup coming at us on a road that barely had room for the Kia compact I was driving!

Finally, after another hour of sweaty palmed, white knuckled, dry mouthed mountain driving, we were back in Three Rivers. We went to lunch first, since I did not want a repeat of yesterday's late lunch weak-kneed dizziness. (Which  was why I was so concerned about taking too many hours to go to Mineral King).

After lunch we went to the Three Rivers Museum and Visitors Center. There was a carved likeness of Paul Bunyan there, whom I'd always thought was a midwestern figure. The claim to fame for this Paul was that he was carved from one sequoia tree trunk.

Toby asked if we could go back to Sequoia National Park Foothills Visitors Center one more time, so we headed that way. About a half mile from the park we got into this line. When he asked what I thought was causing it I told him it was the lineup to get into the park on weekends. He did not believe me.

When we got near the park entrance we could see that they'd opened 2 extra lines to let people in. As far as I could see behind me there were cars lined up. We entered the park and went to the Visitors Center. Crystal Cave tour tickets were all sold out for the day, which backed up our original impression that we didn't want to go there on a weekend.

We watched on our way out, and by then the line to get into the park was over a mile long. We are ever so glad that we did all our planned park activities during the week!  We came back to the motel and chilled out for a while (it was 99 degrees out) and then I went for a swim.  I don't think Toby needed this rest day as much as I did!

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