Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sequoias- General Grant and Water Fall Hike

Nothing beats a Spring break road trip! We decided to head to the Sequoias for a few days of Spring break then relax at home for the rest of the week. Winston didn't come as far as the Sequoias, he had Spring break at Goppy's house.
We stopped on our way up for lunch in Porterville. I grew up coming to Porterville to visit my Aunt and Uncle. They never took us to the brew pub though. We had some rally good beers and burgers.
Then we spied a chocolate shop across the street. We never came here as kids either. We never went to the Sequoias on those trips either. What exactly did we do on those trips to Porterville??
After another hour drive that turned into a wild goose chase to find our cabin we arrived in Pinehurst. It is a tiny town outside of the north entrance to Kinds Canyon and Sequoia National Park. It was chilly that evening and any excuse to use their girl scout skills in making a fire. 
We explored the area around the cabin. It has its own stream.
The brave ones crept out on the fallen log across the stream.

Then it was time to strut your stuff and pose on the tree stumps in front of the cabin.
The hair flip is a great move.
By this time Dad had finished stoking the fire and we had to get cozy in a fort in front of the fire.
We woke up early enough the next morning ready to head to the park. We ate breakfast, packed a picnic lunch and left the crock pot going for dinner and headed the 20 minutes drive into the park. We could barely contain our excitement at ALL THE SNOW!!!
We stopped at the visitors center to get a map and make a plan. First up was a park ranger talk at the Grant Tree. It is the third largest (by volume) tree in the WORLD with the General Sherman tree (also in the park) being the largest in the world!
There is a fallen tree on the loop that is hollowed out and you can climb though like a tunnel.

The trees were nice and all but the snow stole the show.
The General Grant tree is so impressive!
You can try a panoramic shot to get the whole tree in one picture. It still doesn't do it justice.
We started filling out our junior ranger guide books while we waited for the park ranger to begin his talk.
We learned a lot during the talk and they passed around a piece of Sequoia tree bark. It was surprisingly light. The trees at maturity have bark three feet deep!
While ranger Theo answered questions Lily filled out her pages.
A tree selfie!
Gemma took over as photographer for a while.
It was a beautiful day out. Chilly but not too cold. Unless you're picking up snow then your going to have very cold wet hands.

This tree Alex is standing in is not even the largest of the bunch and look how giant it is!
After our Grant tree trek we headed further south into the park to find a good spot to picnic. We stopped at a beautiful look out point. 
It was stunning with crystal blue skies and snowy mountain tops.
Our quick stop at the look out lasted 30 minutes climbing rocks and posing for pics.

Next stop was Kings Canyon overlook. The roads to Kings canyon are all closed in Winter and not plowed so it will have to be on the list for the next time we come visit in summer.

The Kings canyon lookout point turned into an unexpected sledding stop. We did not bring our snow gear or sleds not knowing how much snow we would actually find. Gemma could not contain herself and wait to sled the next day. She took off her puffer vest and proceeded to sled down the hill sitting on it! 

 One good thing about the park being relatively quiet due to all the camp sites being closed and snowed in is you can pull over easily for a great photo op!

We managed to tear ourselves away from the snow to travel further into the park to the next visit center and have our lunch. All the picnic spots along the way were snowed in and closed so we lunched indoors at the Lodgepole visitors center. At the visitors center the workers told us about a waterfall hike behind the (closed) campsite behind the parking lot. She said the Topokah waterfall hike was about 1.7 miles each way, plus the trek to get back to the start of the trail. We decided to check it out. 
We have never hiked in snow! Much different from our usual environment.
The path is snowed over but you follow the footprints in the snow up along the Kaweah river.

The views were just stunning all along and there were a surprising number of hikers. Probably because it is one of the only trails that is not closed or lost buried under snow.
We had a great time hiking along and stopped to goof around next to the river. It was freezing cold, not enough to keep a couple of guys to jump in nearby. Crazy!

 We played by the river and posed for goofy pics for a long while.

We hiked for a couple hours then tired and famished we made our way back to the parking lot to headback to our cabin. Take a look at the amount of snow piled up next to the roads!
Back at the cabin we snuggled in for hot soup and another fire before calling it a day.

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