Day Sixteen: Monday, June 4th, Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Sequoia, King of the Cones

Obviously, up early to beat the oppressive heat. So far the Intex is withered, but still inflated. I’m not ecstatic with how very squishy it is in this climate, but I’m happy to be slightly aloft of the razor gravel, so…

The drive into Sequoia was lovely, I’m sure, but to be painfully honest, we’re getting desensitized to this particular brand of beauty. Thanks to the prehistoric yucca plants erupting out of the earth all over, we stayed awake to at least part of our gorgeous surroundings. We were just plain out of wows. Also, the steeper and windier roads did wonders to keep the driver alert. I hardly had to panic at all. 😉

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

Those same roads, however, are falling off the mountains in places, so we spent a little bit of the morning waiting for the construction crews to pilot us through the cone zone. At least we had a nice perch with a view.

The thing about Sequoia is that there is very little mapped out for you. You could spend eternity in the backcountry, but there are only so many tourist stops. Combined with the heat, we zipped through the things we could pretty quickly.

The big thrill today was Moro Rock, a giant promontory you can climb out on to get a pretty phenomenal panoramic view of the park around you. From up there we could see the mountain that was blocking the view to Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the Continental U.S. Not quite the same as seeing Mount Whitney itself, but you take what you can get.

A bit of the view from Moro Rock

The climb up was arduous. I wish I’d counted the stairs. They went on and on and on. Someone brilliant even carved level footholds into the non-staired ascents. They knew I was coming!

The whole I’m-up-in-the-clouds-and-I-could-die-at-any-moment thing was a slightly different experience than some of the more well-traveled areas of Yosemite. There were railings and barriers on the way up Moro, but they were more of a suggestion than anything. Truly, the knee-high rocks between me and my demise seemed almost more like a tripping hazard than a safety measure.

Nevertheless, the view was awesome, and the climb down was quick and satisfying.

And no one plunged to their death.

Speaking of death, we nearly witnessed some back in Yosemite. I was looking up the height of Yosemite Falls tonight, and what came up instead was Yosemite falls, as in folks falling at Yosemite. Which happened Saturday morning as we were driving through the Valley on the way up to Glacier Point.

We did notice all the search and rescue vehicles and rangers below El Capitan, but it all looked pretty mellow to us. Just standard rounds maybe.

Turns out two master climbers were climbing El Cap’s 3,000′ granite face–one of them for the 107th time–and something went horribly wrong. The duo fell 1,000′ to their deaths. Tragedy.

Just a few weeks earlier, another man fell to his death while hiking Half-Dome.

Suddenly my nonchalance at the sketchy barriers at Moro seems careless. I’m glad we hiked it this morning.

The rest of our Sequoia day was a bit blurry with heat and exhaustion and the beginnings of vacation burnout.

I do know that we hiked Crescent Meadows, through lots of big trees. ‘Twas very pretty. Stopped at the cabin of one of John Muir’s buddies. Guy carved it right out of a fallen sequoia. Pretty cool.


I also know that we trucked over to King’s Canyon for an auto tour, out to the end of the line and back. Also very pretty. Kings River running through is almost iridescent. These high mountain rivers are otherworldly.

A pleasant surprise awaited us at the very end of the Kings Canyon road, in the final parking area. Rhode Island. Woot! Woot! If you’re keeping track, you know that means that there is only one left, and it ain’t Hawaii. Delaware (who knew?) is the remaining prey. We will stalk on.

On the way back out, we stopped for a few minutes to go numb in a calm section of river. We’ve seen so many unbelievable rivers, but haven’t dared get in a single one of them. (Let’s call the one back at camp a creek.)

Cool Krista

We’ve been warned strongly off even approaching the wild waters, on penalty of death and dismemberment, and after hearing a few stories, we weren’t even tempted.

This river, the Kings, is everywhere else just as wild and woolly as the rest, but there was one gentle section, almost a backwaters, just calling for us.

The rivers are calling and I must go.

Lovely, and quickly, painful.

We made it maybe five minutes.

And then we were done. We’d had enough of the day, and the heat, and especially the van, and it was time to head back home, to the creek that would welcome us there.

Home Sweet Home

And there is exciting news from back home! Just before bed, we got a message that Scott’s oldest was going into labor. There’s a baby a’comin’!

Sweet Dreams of Small Packages,

The Whole Enchilada:

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