Saturday, April 17, 2010

Today we went to Sequoia National Park and passed through Kings Canyon National Park. When we left the hotel in Bakersfield, it was a boring type of road, and then after about an hour, as we were getting closer to the park the roads and scenery started to change. It was some sort of free day at the parks, so we got right in for free, and then bam, the roads changed. For about the next hour, we didn't go faster than 20mph, and during lots of turns, we had to do 10-15mph. This was our most challenging ride yet, especially for me (Kim), but I just went nice and slow, tried to stay in the middle of the lane, and of course, get a look at the view when I could! The scenery here compared with the last few days was a nice change of pace... Very green, forest-y, some waterfalls, big gray rocks. Finally we made it though the extremely twisty roads after about an hour, and we started climbing in elevation, and started to see what we came for - the giant Sequoia trees. From the brochures, we learned that they are about 1,200 years old, and are the oldest living things on Earth. Humbling, and intriguing, makes me wonder what they looked like all that time ago... were they small, big, what, and makes me think about all they have seen in their long lives. Anywho... as the Sequoias came, so did the pines, and the elevation. We climbed and climbed, and although the weather stayed very nice, the sometimes 6 feet of snow packing the side of the road let you know that this is some serious winter weather. We stopped for a few pics, but for the most part, just kept traveling through, except for a rest area stop where a coyote came a little too close for my comfort! Sequoia NP connects to Kings Canyon NP to the north, and we were able to do at least 35-45mph on those roads. We exited the parks, and had lunch, and the roads after that were beautiful as well. One thing that I loved was the flowers on the mountains - purple (lavender?), yellows, oranges, so pretty! When we got to the bottom, we again traveled through farms, but not the kind-of IL or IN corn farms we're used to, these are bushes, trees and vines, of oranges, almonds, grapes, and not sure what else. The orange trees smell like lavender or some other sweet flower, not like citrus :) We arrived at our hotel in Fresno, went to Chili's for dinner, and are calling it a night, to prepare for Yosemite tomorrow!