October 12

Sandy and Nancy and I are off to Sequoia for our two-nighter adventure in honor of Sandy's birthday.

First stop has got to be The Gateway Restaurant and Lodge in Three Rivers where we ate a lovely lunch and enjoyed the ambiance and scenery at this very cool joint.
An outdoor wall at The Gateway in keeping with the decor.
Another view from the patio. There are any number of places to stop in Three Rivers there at the entrance to Sequoia but how could any of the others be as lovely as this?
Here he is, welcoming us to Sequoia.

I'm finding myself getting pretty tedious about this: the National Park Service website is Awesome. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the Tribes of Sequoia National Park Region despite the article's equivocation as to the constraints of time and money.
Entering the park from Three Rivers we passed by on Moro Rock admiring her from a distance and went straight to the Giant Forest nature trail.
The Giant Forest nature trail is an excellent introduction I think to the life of the Giant Sequoias. There are explanatory signs all along the way. The museum (which we also passed by) is right next door.

Here's one of the signature trees in the Giant Forest Nature Trail. Oh My! Check out the ladies down there at the base of the tree.
Very soon evening came upon us. We ate dinner in the dining room of the Wuksachi Lodge where we were staying. The Wuksachi Lodge is by far the most upscale place in Sequoia but as I reminded S&N, like it was a chant, 'it is still a National Park, don't forget, it's a National Park.'

I was trying to manage expectations... It was fun! They served cream of peanut soup.
October 13

The morning view out our window. Looks mighty good don't you think!?

At Wuksachi they have the pretty nice Lodge for dining with a bar and a lounge area. The rooms are located up the road a piece in three large-ish motel-lodge-ish buildings. Our room was fine - modest as expected but plenty big and the views were excellent.
Sandy working on her art.

The accommodation buildings from outside. It's sooo amazing.
We drove into Grant Grove Visitor Center and Village. We ate the breakfast buffet and I think everyone was satisfied enough.

This shot is from the Visitor Center diorama room. We were all very hot for this room.
A clip from the wall, because it's unlikely we'll be seeing many bobcats.
Then we drove to the trail-head for the walk to and around the General Grant tree. The dogwoods were all aglow.
Bus loads of people disgorge in the parking lot and there is a funny crowd gathered here waiting turns to have their pictures made in just this spot. What a gal. What an outfit, what a face, what a Hat!
A smaller one in front of a bigger one.
So many different kinds of trees.

I chased this squirrel for several minutes. You can follow the story starting at the far right and ending with a scamper out'a Dodge on the left.
The occupants of those disgorging buses included school groups as well as scores of German tourists and Senior Citizen outings.
From the gas station and marketplace in Hume Lake. I was expecting a lot more in the Fall Colors world but I guess it happens later here.
On to the ride out to Cedar Grove at the far east end of King's Canyon. Sandy on the left, Nancy on the right.
I think King's Canyon is dang spectacular but not so often visited because it is at the end of a long twisty drive from Sequoia and then you have no choice but to re-track your steps...
Sandy's impression. So cool.
...still, if you've never seen it I propose it's worth the drive. Don't miss the river way down there. Wow.
We stopped a bunch! PhototPhoto! No one puked.

Then we took a little amble to Thundering River Falls.

Just 10 minutes off the road. The river was running wild it seemed, fast and loud. There were Danger signs placed prominently at every trail-head.

On the walk to dinner from the accommodation buildings to the Lodge.

Back at Wuksachi, this is the view out the dining room windows. When we left after dinner it was pouring.
October 14

Happy Birthday Sandy! We had breakfast at the Lodge (this is the view out the bar window), strolled around some, and then packed up for the homeward journey.

Early this morning and for much of yesterday all the views were visible at f16 with a super-duper distortion-free sharpen filter that was so edgy it made your eyes bleed.
Deer Alert! Hello you lovely thing.
She's off. See you next time!
We went on a real hike next, on a trail that lead up into a stony vista of delights.
A manatee? Notice how that huge smiling head is balanced on a point.
And a few steps later.
The sun was peeking in and out of the clouds.

More from way up there.
Driving on, we enjoyed one more walk through the Sequoias...

...on a recently active fire road near General Grant.

Then we had a nice birthday lunch at a funky diner along the way, and by 8pm I was snug in my bed. Thank you Sandy and Nancy for making this trip possible. That wonderful smell fills my head and those gorgeous sights dance in my eyes.

Look what Sandy did! Is this not the most perfect thing?!
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