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Black bear, Sequoia NP, CA
29th May 2008
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

I got up early to again make the most of the day, and was rewarded with the photo of the trip.  As I rounded a switchback I saw something curved and brown moving behind the wall.  I stopped and after a few minutes a bear popped its head over the wall.  It then climbed over the wall and started wandering around in the road.  I had never seen a wild bear before so was delighted to see a black bear (aged 1-2 years, according tot he ranger) just a few yards from me.  It was not very big but I prudently backed into my car as it got closer, even though it hardly cared for my presence.

I climbed the lightning rock again in the clear air for some better views, before hiking a few miles up to a very cool waterfall (had I known that I would see ones even more impressive in Yosemite, I might have reconsidered).  The hike took me over very interesting scenery - crystal clear water flowing over smooth granite in between snow-covered pine trees.  This was exactly how I pictured a stereotypical US national park, and was something I had not yet seen in a park.  All the others I had been to until then were swamp or desert climates.

Further into the park I encountered the General Grant tree, which held the more legitimate title of the World's Widest Tree at 40-odd metres around.  Surrounding the tree were two 100-year dead sequoias that were still intact enough to climb in and on.  These trees are almost fireproof and almost rot- and fungus-proof, meaning their carcasses hang around for ages.

King's Canyon National Park is essentially the little brother of Sequoia park, and they are treated as one big park.  However the canyon itself is quite different from the many sequoia groves in both parks:  it's a beautiful long canyon flanked with waterfalls and caves.  I thoroughly enjoyed the drive all the way to the end of the canyon and back.

I drove to Yosemite and was disappointed that the campgrounds were all full and were not taking walk-ins.  That was no problem for an enterprising young man like me, however, and I asked to shared the space, and cost, of an already occupied site.  The delightful couple from North Carolina graciously agreed and we chatted over our respective dinners until dark.   I again froze in the night, waking up as my butt reached the floor through my rapidly deflating air mattress (it has a slow puncture). 

Next: Yosemite National Park
Previous: Sequoia National Park

Diary Photos

Black bear, Sequoia NP, CA

Moro Rock, Sequoia NP, CA

Black bear, Sequoia NP, CA

Black bear, Sequoia NP, CA

Giant sequoias, Sequoia NP, CA

Snow, granite and water, Sequoia NP, CA

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