Sequoia National Park
What an amazing trip this was! I cannot wait to explore all of the state and national parks of California.
The 4-ish hour drive from Los Angeles was a pleasant one, mostly off of highways/freeways/interstates, through some agricultural communities, with a rest stop at The Anvil BBQ in Porterville for lunch. One of the best pulled pork sandwiches I have ever had! Perfectly tender, great flavor, and just enough spice with the "standard" sauce (truth be told, I am a huge wuss when it comes to spice). It is unfortunate that this was easily 2 hours away, though we will be back anytime we are traveling through the area.
Our next stop was Moro Rock and the fantastic view!
This is considered a "moderate" hike because it is short, but almost all stairs, with a 300 foot elevation gain. It is definitely a scary hike for anyone with a fear of heights (we lost 2 along the way...I mean, they quit and went back down, not like they went over the side or anything), but the view is fantastic!
From here, we continued on to the Wuksachi Lodge, our home for the next 3 nights.
An enjoyable lodge, with breakfast and dinner options (not sure on lunch as we were never there), and 3 separate buildings. Oh, there is spotty WiFi here in the buildings, but we went the majority of the time without cell phone reception (which was awesome!). We had a nice quiet dinner in our room (4 of us, in 2 rooms), played some cards (Euchre and Canasta), then turned in for the night.
We were up early for the breakfast buffet (a great deal if you purchase with the room), then off to our first adventure. A guided tour of Crystal Cave (the "no-kid" tour), which is about a 0.5 mile hike down to the cave entrance, next to a waterfall. Make sure to bring bug spray! The flies are really annoying. The tour itself is pretty cool, both literally and figuratively, and takes about an hour or so. Pictures were a little difficult to get, due to the nature of caves, but it was pretty cool to see.
After that, we headed to see the General Sherman tree, an easy downhill hike from the parking lot, then continued on to a 6 mile hike.
After an enjoyable day, we headed back to the lodge for a sustaining dinner. Afterwards, we attended an astronomy class on the property, where the ranger had an amazing laser light to point out constellations, planets, and galaxies. It was a truly enjoyable experience and I highly recommend it!
Our next morning began with another hearty breakfast at the lodge. From there, we proceeded to a recommended hike, Little Baldy, which was described as moderate with a moderate elevation gain. This description certainly didn't disappoint or mislead (glad we had our hiking poles!), and led to more amazing views. The only negative for me was the potential to run into bears...at least in my head. Thankfully, we had bear spray with us (which I would recommend taking anyway, you never know) and, thankfully, we had no need for it. Those ground squirrels looked a little squirrely! All in all, a great hike with even more amazing views!
After this wonderfully challenging hike, we headed up north into Kings Canyon for lunch (where we were attacked by bees, so had to eat very fast!) and a visit to the General Grant tree.
An exhilarating, but tiring day, which led to our "cocktail hour" in a meadow, watching a mole (or something) enjoy pulling weeds/grass into its hole to snack on. After cocktail hour, we headed back to the lodge for our final dinner, some more cards, and an early turn in, before heading back to LA the next morning.
On our way back from LA, we did manage to find a small farmers market to stop at to buy tomatoes, pluots, potatoes, and pickles...among many other delicious choices.
I highly recommend a trip to Sequoia National Park (or any of them for that matter, been to many of them in CA and NV, not to be missed)!