28 August 2009

Kings Canyon

Post 3/4 Sequoia Trip
Warning! Picture heavy post ahead ~ may take time to download!

302 bear box
After my sleepless night, which thankfully was undisturbed by bears, I was deeply thankful for the "bear box" provided for each camp space. It holds all food, coolers and any scented items (such as lotiona and toothpaste!) to prevent bears from getting to them. The bears can't get at the latch to open and it's stronger than a car, which they have been known to break into!

After breakfast and cleaning up the campsite to prevent bear marauding while I was away, I headed north to see the Kings Canyon part of the park. At Grant Grove, I stopped to see the General Grant tree. Another amazing enormous tree, I took pictures of it in segments in order to show the whole tree.
306 4th qtr General Grant
305 3rd qtr General Grant
304 2nd qtr General Grant
303 base General Grant

These big sequoia truely are collosal trees!

307a Kings Canyon
From Grant Grove, I continued north to the main part of Kings Canyon. I'd seen pictures of a stunning glacial valley and lakes, which I was hoping to see. From an overlook, portions of the lower river carved canyon were visible along with the grey granite peaks overhead. From here you can see the road winding down into the canyon far below.

307b Kings Canyon
As the road twisted and turned, the rocks and canyon wall changed. Sometimes, the differences were almost startling!

307 Kings Canyon
Coming around a corner, this stunning cut in the canyon became visible. Boyden cave, which you can tour, is near the base of the sheer rock face on the right. I didn't stop to tour the cave as I wanted to get up to the glacial gorge!

308 River
At Zumalt Meadow, the south fork of the Kings River flows between the peaks. The water is clear as can be and is pale green in color. Simply beautiful. Instead of walking the trail around the meadow, I walked up the river a ways.

309 Kings Canyon river
Every direction I turned, the view was beautiful.

At the end of the road, I discovered that you cannot get into the glacial gorge without doing some serious hiking. How disappointing! I was simply not prepared for that and my ankle, while doing really well since it's break 9 months ago, tolerates moderate short hikes, but not strenuous ones just yet.

310 Grizzly Falls
So I drove back down the canyon, feeling disappointed, hot, tired and sorry to say, a bit cranky. Then I passed a sign for Grizzly falls and realized it was quite close. I stopped to see this small waterfall come tumbling down the rock face, probably 20 to 3o feet or more, changing directions as it came. Seeing it felt like a gift after being disappointed about the glacial gorge.

311 Kings Canyon view
The drive back offered different views than the drive in, which also helped to lift my spirits.

312 Rustic cabin
Back at the campground, I discovered that I was now just about the only person left camping on my end of the loop. Too far to call for help should trouble arise. I just didn't feel safe, so I packed up my gear after watching two young deer playing in the meadow, prancing around, leaping and having a wonderful time. It reminded me so much of the scene in Bambi where he and his friend are playing in the meadow! I drove back to Grant Grove and was able to get a small Rustic Cabin for the night! It's knotty pine walls and dark green bedspreads seemed perfect for a forest cabin. Like the campground, I still needed my flashlight to find my way to the communal bathrooms in the dark! It was well worth it for a peaceful night's sleep!

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