Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
June 3rd through June 5th

We camped at a small campground that was 5 miles from the entrance of Sequoia National Park in the scenic community of Three Rivers, California.  This area is in the heart of California's agricultural area.  We passed huge groves of orange, olive and walnut trees and large dairy farms. 

 
Here's Cocoa enjoying a refreshing swim in the river that runs through our campground.

 
Here's the truck and RV of a nice couple we met at Three Rivers.  Their names are Pink and Amay. Our trailers have the same basic layout and their truck is almost the same as ours.  They are both high school teachers in Los Angeles and Amay has just completed a book that is ready for publishing.  We really enjoyed talking with them about teaching and comparing travel adventures.  The schools in L.A. are on a year-round schedule, so they are off for two weeks every two months and get to travel.
Would you believe snow in June?  Well, the Grant Grove Visitor Center on the west side of Sequoia is 6,589 feet in elevation and COLD.  We couldn't see too much of the trees that day because we were literally "in the clouds".

The snow was great though, the boys loved it.  Playing in the snow is definitely one of their favorite things to do. 
 

Can you guess what this is?  Would you believe a fallen, hollowed out tree?  This giant sequoia has been down for hundreds, or possibly thousands of years -- nobody knows how long.
We learned that sequoias contain a certain chemical, tannin,  that dramatically slow the tree's decaying process.  This old wood was not the least bit soft or flaky.
We also learned that in the early 1900's the calvary was sent in to protect the park from loggers and poachers and that they used this old tree as a stable for their horses. 
This large dome rock behind Ed is Moro Rock.

And this is the view from the top of it. 


 
Here's another view from the top of Moro Rock.

There are signs all over the place to leave immediately if it looks like storm clouds are coming, as this is the "perfect place" to get hit by lightening. 
 

Here's the stairs you use to get to the top of Moro Rock.  They're really steep and about a quarter mile long.  The elevation at the top is 6,725 feet.

 
Here is the largest living thing on Earth.

This tree is named General Sherman.  They estimate it's age to be around 3,000 years.  To say the least, it's very impressive.  Can you see the people in the picture on the left.


 
The area where the largest and oldest trees are located are close to the Lodgepole Visitor Center.  There are excellent displays.

You can see fire damage on most of the old trees.  They have a remarkable way of "healing themselves".  They'll actually grow new bark over old fire scars. 

Did you know that Sequoias require forest fires for thier survival.
 

Here's one that didn't survive. 

The tree are able to withstand most fires, however the leaves and sticks on the ground must be cleared away for the seeds to grow.  Fires also provide cycles of sterilization and open up the forest to sunlight.  For the last 100 years man has been altering the natural cycle of forest fires.  Today controlled fires are used to clear away 100 years of buildup on the forest floors. 
 

Here's an interesting thing we saw in the park -- the oldest operating gas pumps in the country.

We just bought two gallons -- to see how it worked.  The boys were amazed at how fast it emptied into our truck, (took less than 5 seconds -- no vapor recovery system here).
 

 

Mitch and Max enjoyed climbing on some of the logs and roots. (In fact, they didn't want to leave).
The fallen tree on the right is nicknamed "Bear Den"  .Sometimes in the winter a bear will use the hollowed out center for its den

 
Cheryl's favorite part of Sequoia was the Congress Trail.  It's a three mile loop through a grove of the oldest, largest trees on earth.  There was a stream running through it and birds singing.  It was just like being in a "Fairyland". 

 
Yes, that's us driving on a tree that's fallen down.  This shows you just how huge these thing are. 

 
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