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Sunday, May 8 - Lake Isabella

Another travel day, trying to make time to get to California.  We continued along I40 until Barstow, and worked up 395 to 178 to Lake Isabella.  We stopped at a Forest Service campground, Paradise Cove, and had a spot about 10 feet from the water.  What a beautiful valley! This is what we saw from our camper. We saw some grebes on the lake.  Although it had been six years since Patty first saw them in the Canadian Rockies, she recognized their call almost immediately.

We continue to be amazed at the beauty of God's creation.  Every 100 miles or so, you often see something that you would bet couldn't be more beautiful, and then it happens again (sometimes even much sooner).  We are just giving you a small portion of our pictures, over 3000 so far since early March.

Monday, May 9 - Sequoia National Park

Had a great breakfast in Kernville, then we headed for Sequoia NP.  Up and over the mountain on Route 155 from Wofford Heights.  We climbed 3500 ft and dropped 30 in less than 10-12 miles.  It was breathtaking!  Then, over the top and back down through beautiful valleys and vistas into the San Joaquin valley of CA full of orchards and warm temperatures. We bought fresh cherries.  Then, back up on the mountain to the National Park.  We made it more than 3/4 of the way up to the Great Forest, but had to turn back because of snow.  Got a few pictures. 



On returning to the campground in the park, the clouds lifted and we saw many flowers.  Do you see the three different colors of lupines (bluebonnets in Texas)?  Upon entering into our campground, and settling down, we saw a Forest Service volunteer picking up small pieces of charcoal and food from the fireplace grill and surrounding area.  She told us that there had already been 16 cases of bears breaking into campsites for food.  We had to take all loose food, candy, insect spray, suntan lotion, soap, etc. from the truck and camper and place it into a bear-proof box.  Even had to move the spare 5-gallon gas tank...anything that had a strong odor.  The people next door are camping in a popup camper.  Patty said she would have moved...




Tuesday, May 10 - Giant Sequoia National Monument, King's Canyon National Park

Well, no bears...We wanted to see the giant trees at Grant Grove in Giant Sequoia National Monument, King's Canyon National Park at the other side of the mountain.  Because of snow, we couldn't go across, so we had to go down to Lemon Grove for the ride up Rt 245 to Rt 180.  It was worth the trip.   The second picture is of General Grant, nearly 40 feet across at the base, and over 300 feet tall, and it is the second largest tree in the world.  The largest is General Sherman which we couldn't see yesterday because of the snow.  Here, this morning, it was 37, with snow and slush on the ground.


The picture in the middle shows Patty in a hollow log which had been used not only for general shelter but as a saloon, a US Cavalry horse stable, etc.  Since sequoia rots very slowly because of it tannin content, it is thought that the tree was already down on the ground for at least one hundred years before the cavalry used it in the latter part of the 19th century.  Some of the trees date to the time of Christ.  It took loggers 7-9 days to cut them down.

More in the Mariposa Grove:

We drove back into the valley and through Fresno to begin our ascent into Yosemite, intending to stay at a RV park outside the N.P. Unexpectedly, we came across a casino (there are many situated on Indian owned land) and we pulled into the parking area.  Just as we thought, there was free overnight parking and a nice buffet to boot :).

Wednesday, May 11 - Yosemite National Park


We got an early start on into/up Yosemite National Park entering the southern entrance.  Climbing up again to snow level, we stopped at a grove of sequoias near Wawona.  The scenery is unbelievable as we worked our way over and down again into Yosemite valley.  Emerging through a tunnel, we got our first glimpse of Bridal Veil Falls, Half Dome and the famous glacial valley.  Beauty in all directions.

Many steps and pictures later, we arrived in the valley itself with its large complex of hotels, stores, museums, meadows, vista and trails.  Although we arrived about 11:30, the campground was already full.  We put our name on the waiting list (we were #17) in case of cancellations.  At 3:00 we were delighted to hear that we were in! 



Lots of walking and exploring.  Yosemite Falls is the world's 5th tallest. Spring thaw is evident in the falls, meadows, rivers and foot paths.  Water everywhere.  In the evening (8 pm), we attended a ranger program on the Ahwahnee Hotel - Yosemite's great lodge built in 1926.  We definitely will go to see it tomorrow...

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