Giant Sequoia and Kings Canyon Trip
June 3 to 7, 2013
My panoramas of the Kings Canyon area in the Sierra Nevada were looking old and not good enough any more, so I made this trip to update them.
Sequoia is one of the oldest national parks, set up in 1890 by Act of Congress, along with Grant Grove. But Kings Canyon languished in limbo for another half century while the merits of damming the Kings River and flooding the canyons were debated. It finally became a national park in 1940 (Grant Grove was included in the new park).
Large areas of Sequoia forest were left out of these two national parks, and the Forest Service, with its addiction to logging, was coming increasingly under fire for clearcutting "whitewoods" in the regenerating Sequoia groves. Giant Sequoia National Monument was created by President Clinton in 2000 to remedy this situation.
Just a five day trip, but 86 panoramas, very productive, though many of the new panoramas were merely to replace older non-spherical versions.
(Click any picture to open a larger version.)
I spent the day driving dirt roads throughout Converse Basin in Giant Sequoia National Monument. This was the largest of all Sequoia groves until it was clearcut in the late nineteenth century. Only the Boole Tree, one of the world's largest, was left standing.
It's a short but spectacular drive from the Sequoia forests down into Kings Canyon - the canyon of the South Fork of the Kings River.
Most of this day was spent exploring Kings Canyon, a truly beautiful place, like a smaller and much less crowded Yosemite. In the afternoon I retraced my route out of the canyon and up into the Sequoia forest.
Redwood Mountain is the largest remaining giant Sequoia grove, slightly larger than the better known Giant Forest a few miles away. I have wanted to visit it for years, but was repeatedly thwarted by road closures, forest fires, or just lack of enough time.
This was my day to finally experience Redwood Mountain. I made a long loop hike along the ridgetop, down into the valley, and back up the creek, miles and miles of amazing forest. After the first hour or so I didn't see any people at all.
I didn't finish my Redwood Mountain hike until evening, and I was exhausted, so I camped in one of the developed campgrounds along the General's Highway.
On my way out of the Sequoia forests I hiked around the Big Stump Grove taking pictures. It is a rapidly regenerating Sequoia grove with a lot of big stumps from the forest that once was.