Living close in the LA area, it took us a while to make a trip to Sequoia National Park. We decided to visit this magnificent forest of the giants in December even though we knew most roads and sites would be closed during winter. Our main reason was photography, and of course we love some snow. We hit road after lunch and arrived at our hotel in Three rivers by sunset. We were in a rush to drive into the park, so we did, not knowing what to expect or how far to go. It was dark soon and before we could go too far, dense fog took over making it impossible to drive any further. We immediately turned around and drove our way back cautiously.
We rented tire chains from a store outside the park and quickly headed in on Generals Highway. Fog lingered and the roads covered in a layer of fresh snow and ice. Less traffic made it possible to drive at our own pace and make many stops to photograph and explore.
General Sherman, the largest living tree (in volume) on earth estimated to have lived over 2300 years, is not the only giant in the park. We were completely in awe by the many massive sequoias and the serenity of this white landscape.
Nestled in the wilderness, The Peaks Restaurant at Wuksachi Lodge was our stop for lunch. A hot delicious soup while watching snowfall through tall glass windows was a good warm up in the middle of a freezing day.
On day 2 we decided to go around (J-21 route from Three Rivers) and enter through Kings Canyon National Park. While sequoia cradles sky scraping giant redwoods, kings canyon is about dramatic panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada. Both spectacular beyond words.
Hanging icicles formed on rock faces, frozen creeks, snow capped mountains, roads covered in slush, ice and fresh dusting of snow - all screamed winter. Although we didn’t have any wildlife encounters, we did see footprints along the side of the road which was not that of a bear. Not sure what animal it was.
Sequoia national park is not striked off our bucket list yet because this beauty has more to offer in warmer months. And we do wish to capture its verdant beauty sometime in the future.
Driving among orange orchards on our way back home, we took detour after detour and ended up on M-56 along the countryside (California hot springs to freeway 65). We were glad we lost our way as we got to drive through miles of lush green rolling hills. A slight drizzle kept the grass fresh and bright. It was a great trip overall.