Kings Canyon & Sequoia

Friday, September 25, 2020

Bethany and I began our week of wilderness exploration by camping in Kings Canyon National Park at Sunset Campground. This leg of the journey would see us here for four days and three nights. I had never been to this park so I was very excited to find its treasures.

Arrival at Sunset Campground

We arrived in the late afternoon after a four and a half hour drive. Only a few hours of sunlight remained so we quickly set up camp and ran to the local store for some firewood. Climbing to a hilltop in the campground gave us our first vista to enjoy. An atmosphere of peace surrounded me and yet an excitement for exploration also kept me company.

Hiking to General Grant

Our first full day in Kings Canyon and we decided to hike to General Grant, The Nation’s Christmas Tree. The hike was relatively easy, just a couple miles to the grove. Along the way we found giant, fallen redwoods we could climb on, and even climb through. Even the smallest trees towered above us as we made our way through the woods.

Exploring Sequoia National Park

Our campsite was an hour away from Sequoia National Park and I secretly hoped we would find the time to explore it. I had never been and we were a mere 27 miles away. After our hike through the Grant Grove we realized we still had plenty of energy and Bethany suggested we make the drive.

General Grant had already welcomed us and it only seemed natural to assume General Sherman would give us the same warm treatment. A short, paved path led us down to his home. Every tree was bigger than the last and still General Sherman was the biggest of them all, towering so high it was hard to even get him in frame for a photo.

I knew there was a tree you could drive through and we searched it out in the car. Eventually we found it and also stumbled upon the Auto Log, an old, fallen tree that visitors used to park their cars on. Our final destination for the day was a huge meadow. Here we were warned of a bear by a couple running away from where they had seen it. This would be our closest encounter the entire trip. Not one bear would cross our path.

Swimming and Hiking at Hume Lake

We had hoped for cooler weather in the mountains but Mother Nature had other plans for us. The days reached into the 90s. Hume Lake would provide us relief from the heat. Without an exact plan we made the 30 minute drive to the lake.

After exploring for a bit we settled on Sandy Cove. There is a large beach with plenty of space for us to social distance and enjoy the sun and water. The cool water felt nice against the high heat of the day.

After swimming we decided to explore a nearby bridge. We are both fans of picturesque spans. Signage had told us that there was a hike around the entire perimeter of the lake. We encircled the entire area and were greeted with gorgeous views and constantly changing landscape. Hume Lake was created as a log flume and has a very unique dam on the end.

Ending our lap around the water was a series of large, flat rocks with water running through the middle. A perfect place to sit and enjoy the sunset.

Final Evening at Sunset Campground

Our final sunset at Sunset Campground. Nearby fires had been filling the area with smoke and this evening was spectacularly orange.

Tomorrow would see us depart for Yosemite.