As the total distance from home is about 250 miles, we decided to split the drive up and stayed at Horse Creek campground. This campground would have been nice if the temperatures weren't so hot and our neighbours weren't so loud. It was over 100 degrees and didn't really cool off till about 2am which was also when our noisy neighbours decided it was time to end their game of "Never have I ever".
We arrived at campsite 96 which was supposed to be a tent only site but worked well for us to stay in the camper. Bears are a major concern in this area (there was one sighting while we were there) and we stored our food in the huge bear locker. The sites were clean with a new picnic table and fire ring as well as nearby water and flush toilets.
The best part of our site, however, was being right beside the river.
As always, the van provided an excellent place to eat, play and just hang out.
With 4 days of camping, we all had plenty of time to enjoy nature and the beautiful scenery.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is the second oldest national park and is home to the General Sherman Tree. At 275 feet tall and weighing an estimated 1,385 tons with a trunk circumference of 103 feet and 52,500+ cubic feet in volume, it is the worlds largest living tree.
Sequoias have the potential to grow over 300 feet but they tend to lose their tops due to lightning strikes once they outgrow the surrounding trees usually around 275 feet. The root system is only 12-14 feet deep even at maturity but are wide spreading and can occupy over 1 acre of earth and over 90,000 cubic feet of soil. It is impossible to determine the exact age of the living sequoias but ring counts on fallen trees have provided age estimates of around 3,200 years old!
Some of the fallen trees were big enough to walk through.
Others were big enough to live in. Hale Tharp is described as the first Non-Native American to enter the Giant Forest and used a fallen tree as his home with a table and bed inside. It also had a fireplace, door and window at the wider end.
Of course some of the trees were big enough to drive through which was the highlight of the trip!
There is a free and very convenient shuttle service throughout the park that picked us up from our campground and took us to all the major destinations. That being said, we had to visit Moro Rock to witness the vast beauty of both the forest the Sierra mountains.
And on the other side was a 5,000 foot drop which was quite scary with 2 young kids!
The 21 mile road back down to the park entrance took over an hour mainly due to the extreme curves but also because of all the beautiful places to stop along the way. Here is a shot of Moro Rock near the bottom looking up.
With our 4 days of camping complete, we reluctantly made our way back home but managed a final stop at the Tunnel rock before leaving the park.
We eventually made it back home despite the immense and uncomfortable heat but were thankful to avoid this fire sparked by lightning that occurred just before we passed by.
This blog entry will be a reminder of one of the best camping experiences we have had yet and I look forward to returning to the Sequoias again. The beautiful sights were made possible because of our incredible and versatile Vanagon (the memory maker) and were only exceeded by my amazing family that I have the pleasure of sharing it with.