Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Day 7: Clouds and Rain

Today we got up around 6:30AM and were on the road to Sequoia NP by 8:00 AM.  The plan was to drive through Tunnel Log, see Moro Rock, and hike in Giant Forest along the Congress Trail, then drive up Generals Highway to Kings Canyon and do some hiking there.  It was a good plan till the weather, made other plans for us.  (See Map)

Jim In Front of the Colonel Young Tree (Cell Phone)
The drive into Sequoia NP from the Ash Mountain/Foothills entrance was good, we made decent time to the turn off for Tunnel Log and Moro Rock.  We stopped at the Auto Log, which is a fallen tree with a cut out that cars used to park on, to give people an ideal of how massive the trees are. They no longer allow people to park or drive on the log.  We also took a short walk from the Auto Log parking area to see the Colonel Young Tree.  I really want to know why some trees get names and others don’t, what merits a name?  After our short detour to the Auto Log we continued on to Tunnel Log, as the name implies the log has a tunnel in it that you can drive a car through. We did it thrice.  We then continued onto Crescent Meadow, which wasn’t very interesting, then to Moro Rock. However we did not stop at Moro Rock because the clouds rolled in, causing fog conditions which obscured any useful view of the rock.  So we continued on to Sherman Tree parking area walk the Congress Trail.  The trail is about 2 miles and relatively flat.  We made it a little more than halfway around the trail before the clouds caught up to us, resulting in a misty forest walk.  By the time we got back to the parking area it was starting to rain a little bit with the cloud/fog thickening.  

Drive through Tunnel Log (ignore the commentary)

So we decided we would try to drive up to the Kings Canyon Visitor center before eating.  Normally that drive would take about 45 minutes, it took us much longer.  The cloud/fog was so thick we were driving at about 15 MPH with our hazards on along the winding mountain road.  The cloud/fog was so thick I felt like we might be in some horror movie or the video game Silent Hill. We thought we might be able to outrun the cloud/fog and the rain, it didn’t happen.

This was after the cloud/fog cleared (cell phone)
We stopped halfway to the Kings Canyon Visitor center at the Stony Creek Village to get gas, because it was cheap, pick up drinks, and use the restroom.  We then continued on our way, but  ended up stopping at a large pull off to eat lunch, which was the last two MRE’s we brought on the trip.  After lunch we continued on to Kings Canyon Visitor Center.  We were able to get out of the thick cloud/fog for a little bit; however, stopping at any of the overlooks along the road was pointless since all you would see was the top of cloud and about 20 - 50 feet in front of you.  When we finally made it to the visitor center, I stamped my park passport book, and looked around the gift shop.  In the amount of time it took us to do that it started raining, and not a nice gentle rain, but a good solid downpour, which concluded our adventure in the park.  We made the decision to drive back to hotel from Kings Canyon via the Big Stump entrance/exit.  This meant we did not have to drive back down the mountain via a buch of tight switchbacks in the cloud/fog and rain.  

Tomorrow we head to San Francisco for our last day in California, since it is about a four hour drive we probably won’t do a lot of sightseeing in the city.  However, we do plan to stop and see the Golden Gate Bridge and possibly the seals.

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