Our trip from East Porterville to Three Rivers, CA was a short 53 miles through the orange groves in the valley. With just a couple of exceptions most of our trips in the future will only be 100 miles or less which are much more enjoyable than the longer ones like the previous one from Joshua Tree.
We are staying at the Sequoia RV Ranch
about three miles north of Three Rivers. It's probably the best park in Three Rivers but our site is a little small. They have nicer ones on the river or just off the river but they are completely shaded and I MUST HAVE MY SATELLITE TV so we reserved one a little more in the open. After all, the softball playoffs are currently being played and our Gators are playing! We have absolutely zero Verizon service but the campground does have pretty good WiFi. We also have a 50 amps and water with a dump available.
Monday we spent the day inside Sequoia National Park
. It is home to some of the most magnificent trees in the world - the Monarch Sequoias, also called the giant sequoias. There is a lot of construction going on until Memorial Day and it causes considerable delays in traveling the park. It didn't really detract from our experience much but did cause us to be late getting back to the Mothership, about 7:00 p.m. We saw all the big trees and walked the Congress Trail which is a two-mile trail going by several of the named trees and groves. We did get to see a couple of black bears, very close, feeding on grubs. It was a constant up and down and we were ready for it to be over by the time it was. Doris did really well and her legs were hurting and tired but her back was good!!
Tuesday we stayed in and recuperated, getting ready for our trip into Kings Canyon National Park on Wednesday.
Wednesday we toured Kings Canyon National Park
which is really two parks in one: the newer Kings Canyon NP was created in 1940 to include the huge Sierra Nevada wilderness area around Kings Canyon and also incorporated the older General Grant NP (created in 1890 at the same time Sequoia NP was created) which included the Grant Grove of giant sequoia trees. Both the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are contained within the huge Sequoia National Forest, so you are constantly going between National Forest land and National Park land. This may not seem important but two different sets of rules are enforced since these two belong to two different cabinet departments. The Department of the Interior oversees our National Parks and the Department of Agriculture oversees our National Forests - they have different goals and consequently different rules. For instance the National Park Service prohibits any use of fallen wood as firewood, or even the picking up of a pine cone as everything needs to be left as if no humans were ever there. The National Forest Service on the other hand will let you use fallen wood for firewood and even issues permits for the cutting of trees to maintain the forest as a renewable resource.
We had a great time in Kings Canyon touring the Grant Grove with its General Grant Tree, which is now considered the second largest tree in the world since the Washington tree was reduced by about half its size due to fire and snow weight last decade. I have tried to take pictures of these big trees but it's impossible to portray their immense size. I did take a movie of the Grant Tree from the bottom up but it's still difficult to see just how big they are. Even seeing them live, the huge pines surrounding them make the sequoias seem smaller than they really are.
We then headed across the National Forest and down the mountains into Kings Canyon NP down into the glacier-carved valley. It's a spectacular ride descending over 3,000 feet, hugging the side of the mountains, with frequent turnouts to enhance the view. At the bottom, the geography is much like Yosemite, though smaller and with less features.
Tomorrow we head for Madera, CA for a one-night stay before going to Groveland, CA for a one-week stay just outside Yosemite National Park. We will have one day of phone service before hiding out for another week!