Friday, July 31, 2009

Kings Canyon NP

The weekend before last my parents, Anil and I went camping in Kings and Sequoia NPs. My parents agreed on camping as I told them that these days camping is pretty comfortable and sometimes it can even be luxuries. They used to camp a lot during their youth (probably last time around 20 years ago) and I thought it would be interesting for them to see how "modern" campgrounds look these days. I sincerely believed that it will be a great adventure for them. Unfortunately, they seemed to think that it was a torture. In particular, they were displeased with "low sanitary conditions", by which they meant lack of showers, lack of electricity in the bathroom and the water tap that only worked when you were turning it with one hand... I have to say that I was also surprised with low standards on this particular campground (Dorst Creek campground in Sequoia NP). I stayed at over twenty different campgrounds in multiple national parks, and I do not recall any other of them not having electricity. You have to admit that washing yourself in a darkness with one hand can not be considered fun...

We started our visit in the parks by driving to Panoramic Point in Kings Canyon NP. There are great views to Kings River, nearby redwood forests and Hume Lake from this vista point:

Afterwards we went to the General Grant Grove, which is home to the General Grant - the world's third largest sequoia, as well as forty other Giant Sequoias mostly named after various US states.

Here are my parents in front of the Fallen Monarch:

Here are my parents and I in front of the General Grant:

From the Grants Grove we drove to "the road's end" in Cedar Grove. It takes around 1h to get there, but it is a such beautiful drive that it is well worth the time. Views to the Cedar Grove from one of the vista points:

In the afternoon we planned to hike to Mist Falls, which is one of the largest waterfalls in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Unfortunately, we had to turn back in the middle of the way as we were running out of time. Still, even the part of the trail that we did was pretty nice, leading us through the glaciated valley of the Cedar Grove with South Fork of Kings River rambling through it:

Kings Canyon is also home to Redwood Mountain Grove, the largest grove of Giant Sequoias on earth. At the same time, the Redwood Mountain Grove is home to the world's tallest Giant Sequoia (at 311ft). Interestingly, this tree does not have a name!

On our way out of the park we caught an early morning fog rolling over the grove: