Yosemite, King’s Canyon and Sequoia Parks

As we left San Fran for Yosemite we drove over the Bay Bridge connecting San Fran to Oakland and points East and said goodbye to the City on the Bay. We drove through the San Joaquin Valley and moved from grasslands and agriculture to woodlands. We landed in Oakhurst, CA , a few miles from the southern entrance to Yosemite. On our way into Oakhurst we passed Griffin Drive and were obliged to get a picture.                                      


The next morning we got up early for a date with bikes in Yosemite. It is a one and half hour drive from Oakhurst to the Yosemite Valley due to the speed limits and the twisting, turning two lane roads.  As we arrived in the valley we saw huge granite cliffs, waterfalls and massive stones rising from the ground. We rented bikes and prepared for a day of exploring. We rode all around the valley enjoying the sites and sounds, we hiked and the waded in the COLD waters. About four p.m. as our backsides were aching we turned in our bikes and bid a farewell to Yosemite.

The following day we headed to King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. We drove past orange groves, fruit trees and other agriculture. Rising from the valley we climbed to a height of around 7000 feet, into the land of the giants. We visited the famous giant Sequoia trees, General Sherman, the largest living organism by volume, and General Grant, one of the five largest trees in the world. California redwoods can be taller but the Sequoia is much wider, like a basketball player versus a Sumo wrestler. Other trees in the groves included the Tennessee tree, the fallen Monarch and the Twin Sisters. These trees are all well over 1ooo years old and are just massive and amazing, it is an awe inspiring sight.  Most of the giants have some type of fire damage to their trunks, but this is part of their natural cycle. The fire reduces underbrush and prepares the soil and the fire is required for the trees to release their seeds from the cones, which are about the size of an egg. The bark can be up to two feet thick and the inside wood does not burn very well so they just keep growing after the fire. It is difficult through pictures to convey the size of these trees!


One of our favorite areas was Beetle Rock, a large granite outcropping at 6500 feet were you can almost see to San Francisco- unfortunately this valley has the second worst ozone pollution in the country.  That evening we stayed in the John Muir Lodge and prepared for our trip to Needles, CA as a stopover to Sedona, AZ.