The Amazing Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

It is truly a treat to have visited America’s second oldest national park at Sequoia. Every visit we make to the national parks, we become more inspired and motivated to see more! We finally arrived at the park after the long hours of driving north from San Diego and maneuvering the roads through all the fires happening in the Los Angeles area. 

Sequoia National Park

As we proceeded to drive near and around LA, we saw a plume-like cloud as the backdrop of the city on our journey northward. It felt a little eerie witnessing this as all these fires reminded us of our experiences dealing with fires and evacuations back in 2014. We experienced the massive fires in San Diego in 2007, as well as evacuating during the 2014 San Marcos fires which were burning almost literally in our backyards. Here are a few photos.

Sequoia

We arrived at Sequoia National Park early enough in the day to enjoy most of the park. Well, at least the parts that were not closed due to the winter season. We continued our path into the park on The Generals highway. This 80 year old roadway is included as part of the overall park experience.

We encountered construction delays as we went through the entrance. We were told there was up to a 2 hour delay but we made it in time, to where there was only 40 minutes until traffic would be allowed through. Currently, as of November 2018, repairs are being done on the highway to handle a larger number of vehicles. We spent some time at the Foothills Visitors Center and enjoyed a little break as we waited.

Take a look at our journey through the park as we share some of the highlights and points of interest of Sequoia.

Giant Forest Museum

We stopped in at the Giant Forest Museum and used the restrooms at this stop. Sequoia exhibits, information, gift shop, and permits are offered here.

Our next stop was to see the General Sherman Tree as there are two different trails that take you to the tree. The main trail is about 1/2 mile down stairs and paved walkway. There are small signs that say: high elevation, so take your time. This sign is of course intended for those walking back up the hill. These trees are incredibly massive, and very interesting. 

The General Sherman Tree is estimated to be 2,200 years old. It’s largest branch is nearly 7 feet in diameter. Wow! Do you know the difference between Sequoia and Redwood trees? Here are a few details.
Sequoias grow naturally in the west slope of the California Sierra Nevada range and have a massive trunk and is also called the Sierra Redwood.

Sequoia tree

 The Redwood tree is a taller and more slender tree and grows in the northern and coastal part of California.

Redwood trees

Several of the meadows, water fall trails, and other paths were closed for the winter season. We were hoping to see a few bears as well, but there were few if any of them around and they do loiter around different parts of the park during certain times of the year. 

We were informed that the bears are small black bears, about the size of a large dog, but to still remain at a distance, do not feed them, and properly store your own food in appropriate containers. The ranger also indicated there might be a few bears in the meadows areas, but we did not see any.

Kings Canyon overlook

Unfortunately, due to all the fires happening around California, and the national park doing a contained burn, we were presented with smokey hazy skies. 

Kings Canyon

On our second day visiting the national parks in this area. we started quite early in Kings Canyon as we stayed in lodging in Fresno the night before. (Since Sequoia and Kings are located right next to each other). It was a beautiful morning as we made our way in and around Kings Canyon National Park.

Take a look at the above photos and compare the fallen Monarch to the black and white photo taken around 1900. Sequoias can avoid decay even for thousands of years fallen on a forest floor. Take a walk through the center of the fallen Monarch here in the video below. Click here.

Another point of interest is an incredible overlook we stumbled upon on our drive down to Hume Lake that offers stunning views of the canyon below and impressive landscapes. 

Again, we were a little disappointed because of the hazy smokey skies that we had to deal with during this particular weekend.

Hume Lake is a neat and peaceful area of which it is on private land and not part of the national park. There are camping and large group camping events available and hiking around the lake which is approximately 2 miles. We were not really impressed by this area, but it was nice and peaceful. 

Our next stop was during our hike to see the next infamous giant sequoia tree but we came across one of the first early cabins where the first park ranger resided here at Gamlin Cabin during the early 1900s. Take a look.

The impressive massive General Grant, Americas Christmas Tree. The world’s second largest tree!

Our first time experience visiting these two beautiful national parks was full of stunning landscapes, interesting history, and impressive plant life (trees). We recommend visiting these two parks on your next visit to California as they are conveniently located next to each other. 

To top off our amazing visit to these parks, we were able to enjoy a few stunning sunsets!

More information about these parks are below:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271
www.nps.gov/seki

Other info:
*There is no gas available in the park.
*Trails: Day hikes are available in all areas.
*Bears: Black bears are attracted to human food, and they know what the plastic grocery bags are. You can’t even begin to understand how good their sense of smell of food is. You must properly store food at all times.
*Do not feed any wildlife.

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Read about more fitlife360 adventures: 
Capitol Reef National Park a photo essay: 

Exploring Channel Islands National Park: Santa Cruz Island!

Channel Islands Painted Cave
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Great Ideas How To Prepare For a Weekend Road Trip

The excitement for an upcoming trip can be exhilarating. But it can also be very stressful as you have a million things to remember to do days or weeks leading up to your trip. I, however, have a few extra things I need to do to prepare for road trips due to my auto-immune disorder. I have to plan for meals and food as I manage my disorder through diet that involves more natural ingredients and nutrient dense foods; hence, I have a restricted diet.

Anyway, when we have a road trip coming up, there are several things I do to plan and prepare for an enjoyable worry free travel experience. When I say ‘Weekend Road Trip’ I am generally referring to a trip consisting of approximately 250-300 miles. We usually travel on road trips to Arizona, Palm Springs, or Nevada from the Southern California area. My road trips usually involve a hiking adventure, so this information is geared towards hiking or exploration. One of the most critical things to do to prepare for your road trip is to make sure your vehicle is safe and in good operating condition. Here is a list of things I do for the preparation of our weekend road trip; I start with a vehicle inspection.

audi automobile automotive car
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Auto Checklist

  1. Open the hood and glance over the engine and check fluids.
    1. Make sure oil is at good levels
    2. Make sure water is enough for windshield wipers
  2. Bring jumper cables in the trunk
  3. Bring a gallon of water
    1. In case your car overheats while driving. You don’t want to be on the road someplace in the middle of nowhere and your car breaks down and overheats, and you do not have water.

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      Photo by Slobodan Jošić on Pexels.com
  4. Make sure the oil and oil filter has been changed
  5. Bring a blanket
  6. Bring towels
  7. Bring a roll of toilet paper
  8. Bring a handful of tools
  9. Bring the air compressor. Make sure all tires have the appropriate air in them
    1. Make sure the spare tire has appropriate air in it as well.
  10. Full tank of gas
  11. Hot climate travel – turn off air condition as you incline mountains etc.
  12. Maps if needed (we do not use GPS); good ole fashion paper maps.
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Here is more information about the auto checklist for a road trip.

Food Checklist

  1. Ice chest – ice – zip lock bags of ice to fit in cooler
    1. I found a styrofoam cooler at Walmart for $2.67 and worked great.
  2. Bring lunch meat turkey breast
  3. Mustard
  4. Enough almond milk for the weekend
  5. Bottles of water
  6. Healthy snacks; nuts, cut veggies, tortilla chips
  7. Energy bars- protein bars
  8. breakfast cereal- cheerios, oatmeal
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Hiking Checklist – local hikes or short hiking

  1. Bring enough water bottles to fill take for the hike
  2. Energy bars and nuts
  3. Appropriate clothing for hiking – hot or cold climates
  4. Small compass, small mirror
  5. A hiking partner
  6. Let someone know where you are hiking, if hiking solo
  7. Small tool-Swiss army knife
  8. Backpack
  9. Research local hiking trails, gather info, trail length, difficulty, etc.
  10. Proper shoes and clothing

    woman in brown scarf surrounded with green trees
    Photo by Tobi on Pexels.com

Clothing and Personal Checklist

  1. Check the weather to determine to bring lighter or warmer clothes
  2. Jacket or not
  3. Umbrella in the car
  4. Essentials- Lotion (for dry climates), chapstick,
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Hats or visors

In summary, road trips can be a little stressful because of the preparations involved and other unplanned items that may come up, but they can also be exciting! Road trips allow you to be more flexible on your trip, for example, you can take a different route returning home than the route you took going to your destination. You can take detours and stumble upon some amazing gems! Here is one of our hidden gems we stumbled upon on our detour return from Oregon going South. We came across a detour from I-5 to bypass the large fires happening in Northern California areas. Check out beautiful Diamond Peaks mountain range.

Weekend road trips are like a mini vacation that allows you to getaway for a short while to rejuvenate, refresh, and renew! So maximize your life and fill your weekend road trip with excitement, fun, and exploration! Open your mind and go out and wander!

My recent Coastal road trip on PCH

Detours and hidden gems on my road trips

See my beautiful photography of images that will amaze and inspire you! Instagram:
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Thank you for reading and please follow along with my adventures and subscribe to my blog and social pages! If you have any comments, or see any discrepancies, or if you have anything to add, please feel free to contact me at fitlife360@yahoo.com.

 

PCH Hwy 1 Roadtrip*10 Things To Know

A friend of ours was so gracious and shared her experience of her own coastal road trip with us.  She offered information that included some great points of interest to see and visit as we were heading out on our own coastal road trip. She mentioned a few rest stops, beautiful hiking trails, and gorgeous view points for photos. Here is an outline of what she suggested for us.

Guest Blog: By Sam J.
PCH Roadtrip San Diego To Seattle—>10 Things To Know Before You Go

San Diego –> Crescent City

Are you planning a road trip traveling north on Highway 1 up the coast for your next vacation? Here are a few great places to see and explore.

1.Hearst Castle/San Simeon are worth a visit if you have never done it and you have time for one of the tours.  I went on the Main House/Pool tour.

2. Make sure to explore around the town of Carmel, Big Sur, and the infamous Pebble Beach.

Read More Here:  

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My Odyssey Into The Arches & Canyonlands Of Utah

The Ultimate #Roadtrip

Escape with me as I take you on my journey into Utah and our drive from Texas through New Mexico, Colorado, and into Utah to reach this remarkable national park; the Arches and Canyonlands.

After a life changing event last year, my husband wanted us to take a real vacation and visit a place that I’ve never been. So, we set out on an expedition of the beautiful national parks in the USA. We plan to visit all the national parks one at a time, and we are starting with Utah, the Arches and Canyonlands; and of course I am all in!

As a result of this change in our lives, we also thought long and hard about the important things in life; like family, making new memories and experiences and spending more time with our parents so we also asked my in-laws to join us on this trip. We were living in Florida at the time and proceeded with the plans of this exciting journey and booked our flight into Austin, TX.

From Austin, we packed up our coolers with ice, food, and water and jammed our pillows and snacks in the car and made our way down the highway. We drove through quite a few small towns in Texas of which one of them is Fredericksburg. This small town was quaint, has hometown feel, and is beautiful. It is also considered one of ten best wine travel destinations. http://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/

As we were cruising down the highway out of Fredericksburg, we made a few stops to stretch and use the restrooms. A few hours later, we then pulled off the road again at a small rest and picnic area. We enjoyed our home-made turkey sandwiches and chips, glanced at large lizards and trees, then got back into the car and made our way to Lubbock. Here we stayed the night in a very comfortable Holiday Inn hotel and slept like babies.

The morning came quick, as we ate the hotel breakfast and my in-laws enjoyed the cookies and treats. The drive has gone smooth so far to this point along with a few pit stops and lunch time breaks, we finally made it to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Driving into New Mexico is quite a scene as it is so beautiful and clean everywhere you look. The climate in June was gorgeous here and we were able to see a few historic sites.

 

 

Then we discovered one of the best Mexican restaurants we’ve ever experienced, thanks to the recommendation of one of the hotel staff, it was far better than what we expected. The high quality of food and atmosphere was top notch! Cervantes

After a night of delicious dining and hard sleeping in Albuquerque, we continued our way further into New Mexico. We were smack dab in the middle of Navajo Nation Reservation territory. One of my best friends is Navajo, and we were in the military together. She has since returned to her home state of Arizona. She is always interesting to talk to, as well; I visited her back in 1997 and stayed with her on the reservation in Page, Arizona, which was quite an enlightening experience. Anyway, while driving through this land, it’s remarkable to see all the agriculture and the community of the Navajo Nation. I think about all the history of this country as we pass through these lands and make our way into Utah.

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From the moment you enter the state, we noticed how picturesque it was. The beauty of the natural landscape will mesmerize you. Prior to reaching the very cool small town of Moab, you come upon an arch that you can stop and enjoy as you rest and start your journey of exploring these great lands. Just outside of Moab, you’ll encounter Wilson’s Arch. We stopped here to get our hiking juices flowing and relentless excitement knowing that we were in for quite a treat. We took a few photos and climbed to the top and rolled all over it and reminded ourselves that the fun has only just begun.

 

 

 

The next few days would turn out to be unbelievable and enchanting as we saw the most spectacular natural beauty landscape that you could ever imagine.

 

 

The intoxicating beauty of the rock formations and red rock, the arches were alive. From Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock to Landscape Arch, this place turned out to be all that I thought it would be and more!

 

 

 

 

Our exploration of these extraordinary lands consisted of one day hiking and seeing the Arch’s territory , the second day was spent escaping to parts of Canyonlands; although more days are necessary to gain the full experience of these parks. DSC_0500DSC_0555DSC_0588RED ROCKDSC_0592DSC_0626Redrock2

On day three in Moab, the mountains of La Sal was calling our name. We decided to mix up our trip and add a little greenery, trees, and mountain nature to our plans. As our car climbed the upward elevation of the La Sal mountains, we encountered a few animals. A herd of cattle were apparently on migration from one side of the road to the other. This just made our mountain visit even more memorable.

Our time exploring Arches and Canyonlands was also accompanied by scrumptious dining. We enjoyed a couple meals at a place called The Diner; where you can enjoy a delicious dinner as well as scrumptious ice cream. We left that place with big smiles on our face as the meals were more than delicious.  http://www.moabdiner.com/Home

DSC_0512Morning ArchOverall, our expedition was full of spectacular maze and wonder. We truly enjoyed staying in Moab, UT. DSC00198

It brought us back to life and to realize the truly important things in life that matter. Together with creating new wonderful experiences with our parents, this trip will forever be a treasure trove of unforgettable memories.
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