Heading south for the winter and still can’t decide where to land. So why not another stop by Joshua Tree. This time we stayed on the north side with closer access to the park entrance. Twenty – nine Palms was a nice stop. But I have to say there are many more than 29 palms in the area!!!
The park seemed remarkably unchanged since our last visit, but I can’t say the same about the rest of our life. We were just beginning this wonderful adventure the possibilities were endless. Mom was alive and well. Hailey was single and not madly in love. We have all changed is one way or another. Some things have changed for the better and some have changed for the worse, but much like the jumbo rocks and Joshua trees a lot in this world has stayed the same and will regardless of our independent lives and actions. In other words, live in the moment, because all the kings horses and all the kings men can’t make the mountains reappear around these rocks again and we wouldn’t want them to, the rocks are beautiful just as they are. And so are we all, accepting and living that way is another challenge.
But now on to some rock and tree pictures. Much the same as we left them over two years ago, but a little different each in their own way!!!
We did some of the same walks we had last time and added a couple new ones. Walking a trail near skull rock, we decided to go off trail for a while. Not always the best idea because as we walked we kept hitting dead ends, rocks we couldn’t get over or ledges we couldn’t climb down. Staying on the trails is a rule we have always followed and probably from here on out.
This visit we splurged and paid extra to visit the Desert Queen (Keys) Ranch. William “Bill” Keys was one of the early settlers in the park area. He and his wife Frances raised four children and thrived in this harsh environment. Their story could and has filled many books so there is more authoritative literature on this subject, but suffice it to say they both loved this area and stayed on the ranch until their deaths the last in 1969. The ranch its self remains pretty much untouched since their deaths. Here are some pictures.
As far as wildlife goes in the park, you don’t see much besides chipmunks and lizards, but we were treated to a rattle snake and a tarantula!!! Not the most welcoming wildlife, but none the less.
So, as I said as much as things change many stay the same. But I swear THAT rock has moved since we were last here!!!
Peace Love and rock on – in the moment!!!
As mentioned in the prior post we were camped about 7 miles from the entrance of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. But if you want to visit the Kings Canyon it was a two-and-a-half-hour drive away!!! All this wilderness and we spend a lot of time in the car trying to see everything.
The national park is adjacent to and administrated with Sequoia National Park. A majority of the 460,000 acres are wilderness not readily accessible. But one road runs thru the Grant Sequoia Grove and thru part of the Canyon. Kings Canyon is over a mile deep and is one of the southern most canyons carved by glaciers. You can actually tell the difference within this canyon where it is more “U” shaped from the glaciers and more “V” shaped from water erosion etc.
The vastness of this wilderness is tough to capture in pictures, but here is what we have.
There were also several very nice waterfalls. One extremely tall one, but it was on the shady side both morning and afternoon so the picture did not come out well.
Peace Love and let the rivers flow!!!
For a variety of reasons, we typically stay some distance from the parks we visit, but this time we landed just 6 miles from the park entrance on the north fork of the Kaweah River in Three Rivers, CA. Very nice site with a river view.
California is home to both the Giant Sequoias and the Giant Redwoods. We visited the redwoods earlier in the year and really enjoyed that area. Sequoia grow in a very different area and climate than the redwoods. They only grow in one area of the world the western side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range between 5 and 8,000 feet.
Sequoias are not the tallest trees, redwoods are. Sequoias are also not the widest trees, the African baobabs are. But the sequoias are the largest tree in the world based on volume. Unlike redwoods who continue to gain height their entire lives, sequoias grow tall relatively quickly and when they are taller that the surrounding pines and other conifers, they basically stop growing taller but continue to add girth. This large truck makes them the largest BY VOLUMNE trees on earth. They are surrounded by other very large trees so it is kind of hard to appreciate their size.
The General Sherman Tree in the giant forest is BY VOLUMNE the largest known living single stem tree on earth!!!
The General Grant tree located in neighboring King Canyon National Park is the second largest known living single stem tree on earth!!!
Of course, there are many many more giant trees within the parks.
There are also many giants that have fallen over the years. Here are a couple – one with a pedestrian tunnel, one with an automobile tunnel and one with a tunnel down the core.
Couple of other points of interest with in Sequoia National Park, A rock tunnel that you used to drive thru –
Twisty windy road up the mountain viewed from an overlook all those little specs on the left are road too.
Moro Rock – not to be confused with Morro Rock we saw earlier in the year at Morro beach.
And Hanging Rock.
Peace Love and save the trees!!!
The final area we explored in Yosemite was the northern road across the park to Tioga Pass. Tioga is the highest pass in California at 9,945 ft. The Tioga Road climbs several thousand feet to the tops of these beautiful granite mountains. We skipped the southern most portion of the park Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Sequoias mainly because we knew we were moving on the Sequoia National Park.
After seeing them from a distance (the valley and glacier point) it was very interesting and beautiful to be close up on all of that rock.
The road also passes a couple of scenic lakes, and the Tuolumne Meadow. The meadow is a fragile sub-alpine meadow that spends most of the year covered in snow. At 8,600 feet covered in snow most of the year not much grows and what does must be protected. You are not allowed to walk thru these meadows.
The mountains in Yosemite are part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and are made mostly of granite. We could only wonder how many kitchen counter tops could be cut from these mountains (hahaha). They are totally different in shape and appearance from the volcanic Cascades we just left, yet only a couple of hundred miles apart!!! What a beautiful majestic mountain range it is!!!
P.S. we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary while in Yosemite!! Boy what a way to make 30 years seem insignificant in the whole scheme of things… But here’s to 30 years of love adventure understanding compassion endurance love and more love!!! What can I say life has been good to us and we are good to each other, couldn’t ask for anything more..
Peace love and more love and more love and more love…..
We spent two days in Yosemite Valley, but with almost 1,200 square miles of land there is much more to explore in the national park. Glacier Point is a view point on the south side and over 7,200 feet above the valley and Hetch Hetchy was a valley in the northwestern corner of the park.
The famous naturalists John Muir was instrumental in getting the Yosemite wilderness protected as a state and later national park. He lived in the area for a number of years and proclaimed that Hetch Hetchy valley was a grand landscape garden comparable to the beauty of Yosemite Valley. In the early 1900’s after a major earthquake and resulting fire the inadequacy of Bay Areas water supply became evident. The Tuolumne River was being looked at to dam providing a more reliable water source and flooding the Hetch Hetchy valley.
John Muir and others fought mightily to prevent the damming of the Tuolumne River, but the fight was lost. In 1923 the dam was completed and by 1934 they began piping water 197 miles to the San Francisco area. Today this reservoir provides about 32,000,000 cubic feet of water per day to metropolitan San Francisco.
During other times of the year there are several waterfalls around the edges of the lake, but not in September.
There are a couple of waterfalls in Yosemite that flow year around. Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls are two. They are accessible via several miles of strenuous hiking (on the way to half dome) or can be viewed from Glacier Point. Pics of Vernal and Nevada falls.
Glacier Point is a view point 7,200 feet above Yosemite Valley on the south side. The views were breathtaking!!!
This point jutting out from the rocks was a popular photo stop for early visitors, in the museum we saw pictures of various people on this point including two women doing the can-can!!! I respect railings and fences, would not venture out to this point – no how no way!!! But would be a beautiful view of Yosemite falls if it was falling!!!
Peace Love and no fence jumping!!!
Yosemite was the first wilderness area protected in the US, and had it not been located within the state of California, it would have been the first National Park in the US. In 1864 (8 years before Yellowstone) it was protected and turned over to the state of California. Yellowstone was in a territory (not a state) in 1872 when the government decided to give it national protection and it became the first National Park.
Yosemite is well known for its magnificent waterfalls, (you know how we love waterfalls) actually Yosemite falls is the tallest water fall in North America falling over 2,400 feet and a major attraction for the valley section of the park. Little did we know that September is not waterfall season in Yosemite… The falls were dry!!! Many waterfalls in this area are fed solely by snow melt and rain fall. Unfortunately for us the snow has melted by September and rainy season does not start til Oct or Nov. We will have to come back!!! Here you can see where it should have been and the Yosemite creek that should be feeding it.
The valley is the most popular section of the park with many iconic features and views. One of the most popular views is the Tunnel View.
Notice how U shaped the valley is. Proof that it was carved by glaciers. Although the Merced River still runs thru the valley, it was shaped by moving ice and not cut by water. Some of the features of the valley include the Royal Arches and north dome.
Bridal Veil Falls
And of course, El Capitan. This solid granite wall is nearly 3,000 feet high and very popular with rock climbers. You may have heard of the people who climbed it in a little over 2 hours in 2017, but the climb usually takes several days (3 to 5 days) with the climbers camping out on the face of the mountain!!! We watched some climbers for a little while, but they were so small that it was hard to find even with binoculars.
Another iconic feature in the valley is half dome. It is also popular with rock climbers, but not as accessible as El Cap. People with appropriate permits are allowed to hike to the top via a 17 mile hike and using cables and crude stairs on the way to the top. To do this hike you must win a lottery, only 300 per day are allowed. If you choose to rock climb the face of half dome, they do allow you to use the stairs and cables to come down… Half Dome is visible from most parts of the park and here are a couple different views of it.
Peace Love and Justice for all!!!
Just wanted to share a couple of things near Redding before moving on.
We finally got a nice view of Mt. Shasta, last spring it remained hidden by clouds and weather. Beautiful view from the highway, and another with Lake Shasta in the foreground and Mt. Shasta behind.
Very near Redding is Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The area had recently been victim to a very large forest fire so the visit was pretty sad, but thought that this overflow spill way was pretty interesting.
One of downtown Redding’s claim to fame is their sundial bridge. The bridge tells time via the sundial, but is only the correct time on the summer solstice. Not really very exciting, but had to see it anyway!!
Finally, Castle Crag State Park. We saw these interesting craggy rock formations from the highway on our way in and decided we needed to investigate further. We don’t usually pay for state park entrances, but were really expecting a great view. Well the state park was more of a campground with one walk to the peak for a view, but not the spectacular view we were expecting. So, we had to travel some back roads to get a better view. Pretty cool, since the surrounding mountains were tree covered and this particular area had these wonderful rock formations, quite nice.
Peace Love and keep it craggy!!!