It’s the end of February which seems to signal time for an early spring jaunt. Last year I departed home the exact same date. As I constructed my loose itinerary, I elected a western route along the Sierra unlike previous years when the eastern side got all my attention. I’d never been to Sequoia and Kings (SEKI) National Parks so now seemed opportune. I had no idea there was also a Giant Sequoia National Monument. I drove through it on my way to the northern end of the Park, aka Sequoia National Park (now merged with the southern end Kings National Park).
I was happy to find signs of spring.
But I was reminded it was winter. I had one day for sightseeing.
I camped near the entrance so I could make the most of the day. I awoke to fresh snow.
Winter means . . . road closures and limited access.
But look at that pretty canvas.
I hiked the Grant Tree Trail to view the General Grant Tree, the third largest tree in the world.
The ranger suggested I drive to Hume Lake. Along the way I got some WOW views.
Hume Lake is outside the Park on Forest Service land. It was disappointing to see their lack of maintenance, I’m sure due to funding versus caring. But this really sends the wrong message.
Much of the signage indicates the separation of the parks.
With the road closures and winter driving conditions, it took me nearly 3 hours to drive between the General Grant and General Sherman trees.
I was ever so grateful to be driving a 4×4 with mud and snow tires, otherwise chains were required. On this date 75% of the pavement was clear of snow and ice.
And finally it was time to see the largest tree in the world. General Sherman!
Oh to be average.
I really like this pictorial for gaining perspective. I didn’t know about the item second to the left until a few days later when I visited the world’s largest thermometer.
With low level snow in the forecast, I decided to stay at the Park’s Potwisha Campground and watched the mackerel clouds, wondering whether predictions would come true.
The Marble Falls Trail begins from Potwisha Campground. The next morning I awoke to dry skies and decided to see if I could beat the rains with a quick hike to see the waterfall.
I found one early blooming Monkey flower.
Those must be the falls? They look so tiny from a distance especially on this misty day.
A zoomed view.
It started raining about two thirds of the way. I was grateful as always from my hiking umbrella and rain jacket. I was proud of myself for not turning around. But as I climbed higher, the rain turned to sleet, turned to snow. You know I wanted to reach the ridge.
I found some social trails to the falls, but this was not a day to go wandering so I settled for this distant view.
I was delighted to find green along the trail, but not so happy to find two ticks.
As I returned to the trailhead I meandered up the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.
- February 28 through March 1, 2018