Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sequoia National Park

But first, the story of the disappearing campground. While we were at Success Lake, we knew we had to leave before Memorial Day weekend since all the sites were reserved for that time. We had planned to move to Kaweah Lake which has two advantages - it's located 10 miles from the southern entrance to Sequoia NP and it doesn't take reservations. However, the campground had this disclaimer.

Sites are available on a first-come/first-served basis until they are submerged by the rising lake water or the access road is no longer accessible.

Is this a joke?!? So I called and the lady said the lake was rising, but they still had some sites available. She was very happy to tell me that the campsites with no road access are still accessible by boat. Yes, that certainly made me feel better.

Ron and I arrived at Kaweah Lake early on Friday (well, by noon anyway) and, wow! were we surprised! First of all the entrance is straight downhill! (and seemingly into the lake)
(They still had a few sites when we arrived. I took this picture later since I was too busy holding on when Ron drove the RV in.)

The choices were limited. Ron decided this one just wouldn't do.

These people were living dangerously. Somehow they got it out later in the day. That would have been entertaining to see since the road was under water.

Of course the advantage to this situation is that you can have your boat, water toys, picnic table, and tents all within 20 feet of each other.
We did get a site that was high and dry and just right for us. We stayed three nights during which time the lake rose two feet.

So off we went to explore the park. I had told Ron that when I was there in the late 90s, I drove on a sequoia log and had a picture of me doing it. I really didn't remember where it was in the park, but we happened upon it on our way to Moro Rock.

Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to this poor log. It's funny, the tannin-rich wood of the sequoias make them resistant to rot and many insects. But I guess they're no match for automobiles.

On to Moro Rock. This giant rock juts out of the side of the mountain and you can climb the 400 steps up to the top. What fun! Although this sign was a bit intimidating.

What the heck, we didn't see any storm clouds, so up we went. What is really cool about this rock is that you really only have to go about halfway up for the fantastic views.

Here's a shot from partway up looking back down. It's really not scary at all - well, unless you're afraid of heights.

I had to get that picture at the top to prove I did it.

Next we checked out the fallen sequoia that you can drive through - here's Ron doing his thing. (We are such tourists.)

But the main attraction is the General Sherman tree. At 52,500 cubic feet and 1385 tons, it is reputed to be the largest living thing on Earth. It is 275 feet tall, 36.5 feet in diameter, and 2200 years old. Amazingly, none of those statistics are records, just the volume and weight. (The other records are 311 feet tall, 40 feet in diameter, and 3200 years old - all held by various other sequoias.)

I have a movie of this picture where I panned up the tree, but I repeatedly timed out when I tried to upload it. However I will have more Sequoia pictures in the next post complete with tops. It'll be worth the wait, trust me. :-)


  1. We're all tourists ... after all, isn't that why we travel ... to tour these great places.

  2. Love that G. Sherman tree I have a video of it on VCR tape--remember when we all carried those huge Monster video recorders? Broke my neck trying to get the height in, and STILL cant see the top of the tree..those tapes are some of my most treasured possessions--
    Aweseome view from that rock climb thats quite a feat I imagine--and glad you found a high and dry spot looks to be a super campground!! Reminds me of Canyon Lake we put our tent pretty close to the water.

  3. Standing by waiting for the video clips. Too bad the car bridge tree has gotten so bad, I know you'd of had a picture on ROn driving across it.

    That was some climb, too. What a view from the top. Glad the lightening stayed away!

  4. Loved the disappearing campground!!! You guys sure are having fun. I'm (a little) envious.

  5. Was I with you when you drove on the fallen log? If so, I don't remember it.

  6. Actually, Diana, that was when I went on my frantic 4-week tour of 12 national parks in my cute little Sebring convertable.

  7. I had forgotten about hiking up Moro Rock. Thanks for the reminder!