Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks

Before I start I have updated the Our RV Map. It is a bit ahead of the Blog as it includes our route beyond San Francisco and I am afraid I am a bit behind with the updates of the Blog!!

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After leaving Los Angeles we headed almost directly North to a town (although as usual it is a City in the USA) called Visalia which is on the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and close to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks which are home to the biggest trees in the world, the Sequoias.

The RV Park was a KOA on the edge of Visalia that was very quiet and secluded with nice gardens.


Our Site

On the first day we went for a bit of an explore up to the Sequoia National Park, without going into it as we knew that would take too long. Found a very nice restaurant near the National Park and decided to have lunch there.

Quite a backdrop to a very good meal.
The bridge downstream.
View of the river.

Later on we discovered ………….  EXETER!!

Not a City with a population of  10.730!!

A very pretty town(city!!) which was actually founded by a guy who emigrated from Exeter.

Caption to the mural of the Founder

For such a small place this was a beautiful, clean little town with some absolutely marvellous murals painted around the town and the smell of orange blossom made it even better.

View of an orange orchard, makes you believe you are there!!
WWII US Bomber command memorial in a car lot.
Raisin capital of the world.
Original settlers.
Exeter early 1900’s
Railway Station.

All the murals (and there were supposed to be more than 30 of which we saw about 20) were absolutely beautifully done and really added a lot to the town.

The next day we set off for Sequoia National Park and the home of The General Sherman, the largest tree in the world.

A very interesting drive it was too, with a twisting road up into the park from 2,000ft to 8,000ft plus. Anne will say she didn’t enjoy this bit as some of the drops off the side of the road were quite immense!!

Tunnel Rock, look carefully the road used to go under it!!
An immense round rock face called Big Baldy!!
Yes, that is the road down there twisting around the mountain, we came up that.
Two baldy’s together!!
Panoramic view of the mountain range.

It is at this point I have to sing the praises of the Spark. You buy a car and you hope you have made the right decision, and in this case (touch wood) we seem to have done so. It has not missed a beat since we bought it, and we have taken it up mountains, across deserts and dirt track roads and done thousands of Interstate miles in it, marvellous little car. It handled these mountain roads like they weren’t there and we passed quite a few people with overheating engines that didn’t like the climb!! Spark rules!!

Then we reached the Sequoia forest. What can I say, but marvel at the immense size of them, plus the beautiful rich red colour of their bark.

And this is not the biggest one!!
Another!! But this gives you a sense of scale, look at the person and the bench at the base.
Three together with the road splitting though them..
Getting bigger still!!
The base showing fire damage.
There are two of us!!

And then further on I walked down to The General Sherman. Anne decided not to join me as the walk went down a fairly steep path, which you had to walk back up, and at 8,000ft that made you puff a bit!!

General Sherman, the largest tree in the world.
Diagram of the trunk at the ground.
What makes it the biggest.
The General and a twin Sequoia next door.
Another view of General Sherman. Tiny people at base.

The views around the park from 8,000ft plus were absolutely magnificent, but a camera shot doesn’t seem to do it justice.

Normal trees and snow capped mountains.
More snow capped mountains.

We were supposed to be going to Kings Canyon on the next day but overnight a low front came through, and it snowed above 2,500ft so much they closed the roads into the park for the day. We had seen notices saying weather conditions can change quickly be prepared, but didn’t realise it could happen quite that quickly. So we looked around Visalia and found a tractor museum and a group of volunteers cleaning a decommissioned B17 Flying Fortress.

Iron rimmed wheels and a transverse engine, most unusual.
RV belonging to the restoration group.
The shiny B17.
Polishing the aluminium hull.
Bomber was part of the 379th Bomber Group that was awarded the 8th Air Force “Grand Slam” Award for the greatest tonnage of bombs delivered in April 1944.
Cockpit all clean and shiny.

By the following day with a rapid rise in temperatures the roads into King Canyon National Park were open again and we went to see the General Grant, the second largest sequoia in the world, which is over 3,000 years old.

Evidence of the previous days snow on the way up.

The General Grant tree is one of many imposing sequoias in a grove called the Grant Grove.

Part of the Grant Grove from the car park.


And more.
A fallen hollow sequoia that was lived in. Because of their high tannin content which is what gives the red colour, they are very resistant to rot.
General Grant.
Top of the General Grant has a lot of canopy.
Fire scarring, tannin also makes them resistant to fire.


What idiot wore shorts in the snow!!
Anne at the base of the General Grant.

We then drove on to see Hume Lake, as beyond that King Canyon was still closed for the winter (funny I thought it was Spring!!).

The road was quite narrow and had huge drops off the side.  There was over a 1,000ft drop here.
How the lake was formed.
Hume Lake

That is the end of our visit to the Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks, the next Post will show our cross country trip to Yanks RV Resort.





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