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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Letter from Yosemite

Our two weeks have flown by and we've just hit the highlights of Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. I envy the young and adventurists who stay most of the summer and backpack some of the 800 miles of trails. The locals have a wonderful place to live such a varied place, arid yet farmlands growing grapes, peaches, almonds and oranges. Most surprising to us was the temp. in the valley it's been almost a 100 the whole time of our visit, of course it's cooler in the higher elevations.
Our favorite place was Yosemite's Tioga Pass road, we went there twice (3 times if you count our drive down in the RV). The crowds were smaller though the parking areas of the favorite trails would fill up fast. In the valley, bus loads came in so it got quite congested, it seemed every language could be heard and very little English, but in most part everyone was polite and friendly.
There were warning signs about the bears everywhere about proper food storage and how to frighten them away. Smoke on road warnings were here and there, as there seemed to be a fire somewhere in the park, more than just the RV fire you may have heard about that took 5200 acres and may still be smoldering. And many Please don't feed the animals....especially those cute squirrels.
As for Kings Canyon and Sequoia parks, King's Canyon would be our choice. The shuttle buses in the Giant Grove in Sequoia were over crowded and if you'd been to Grant's Grove in Kings Canyon no need to put your self thru the mess. You can drive yourself to see the "Biggest tree" in Seqouia and be done with it. Although it was in Sequoia where we saw our bear.
We learned about the Sequoia's in the Marisopa Grove in Yosemite, that about 25% of the old trees were harvested, they splinter when cut unlike their relative the Redwood where 95
% of those have been harvested. The Redwood grow taller and the Sequoia grows wider from just a egg sized cone which holds hundreds of oatmeal sized seeds. The Sugar Pine has the largest cone which can get 3 feet long, avg. we saw were around a foot or longer and is the most harvested and has the best wood.
Our KOA was nice and quiet during the week. The best birding was there with quail, acorn woodpeckers entertaining Squeakie right outside the window, Western Bluebirds, Lesser Goldfinches, Jays, Oak titmice and we heard a Great Horned Owl a couple of mornings.
It took us an hour or longer to drive into the Yosemite Valley. Why are we not in the park, the campgrounds are all dry camping, we like our electric and they are usually full and need prior reservations. There's a big Chukchansi Indian Casino just down the road where Glen Campbell will soon be appearing. We are only 30 miles away from Fresno, and all the big stores. We went down one day to look for a RV side light that was broken off on the twisty roads through Yosemite on our way down, (no luck finding the part Ken will have to order one) and we had the oil changed on the car. The small town of Oakhurst where we stop at McDonald's or Carl's Jr. go or coming back from Yosemite looks like a real nice place with quaint shops and art galleries.
We are taking only our photos, a few smashed pennies and memories from this beautiful wilderness. What was it like when John Muir and Ansel Adams and the other early visitors came....no shuttle buses and no paved Tioga Pass Road hmmmm?
Well it's time to move on, you'll have to visit again to find out where we stop next.