Monday I drove in to Sequoia National Park, which is only about 45 minutes east of where I am staying in Visalia, CA. Although I usually try to get out and about early in the day, I didn’t leave the house until 9 because I wanted to stop downtown at the Visitor Center which wasn’t open on Sunday. After getting maps, brochures and recommendations I set off for Sequoia.
I drove past this big lake on the way to the Park.
I would drive past the lake again in the afternoon on my way out of the Park, when I would see what I am quite sure was a bald eagle (white head, white tail, long black wings) flying above it. I went back to find a legal place to stop and by the time I got in position it had risen way up above the lake, too far away to even zoom in for a picture.
Before getting to the Park I drove through the little town of Three Rivers. I stopped there to get a sandwich to take into the Park so I could enjoy a picnic lunch. When I got to the Park entrance there were signs warning of road construction, with hour-long delays at times. When I stopped at the Visitor Center I saw a sign that said if I left there at quarter after the hour I would make it through the construction zone before the hourly closure. I looked at my watch and it was 1116. I hopped back in the car and resumed driving (obeying all speed limits in the Park, of course).
Well, I got up to the zone at 1146. And sat in line. I thought I had missed my window of opportunity. I ate my picnic lunch sitting in my car. I did get out and take these pictures while I was waiting.
In the distance are the Castle Rocks, at 9,180 feet elevation. (I was parked in the road at around 5,000 feet, I think).
And this is Moro Rock, at 6,715 feet elevation.
I turned around and started driving down the mountain. I studied the map while I had sat waiting and discovered that I really didn’t intend to be where I was anyway! I had planned to turn right after entering the Park on a road which dead-ended east of the Park, then go back and drive a scenic loop to the southeast of Visalia. I was now on the road which goes northeast, deep into the Park, which I wasn’t planning to do to until Tuesday.
I stopped on the way down and took these:
I stopped at the Visitor Center and told them they needed to fix their signs. Turns out it was my error – I has misunderstood a large sign that told about the road opening at 1130. I thought that was the target I was trying to beat. It seems that the road opens on the hour, not the half hour. The sign I saw was for 1130 PM, when they close the road for several hours at night and only open it once at that time. I suggested they clarify the fact that during the DAY the road opens at the top of the hour.
I also learned that the road I had been planning to take all along is outside the Park, about 2 miles before the entrance. I exited the Park and went and drove part of it. It was paved but not in very good shape, and was narrow. I only went about half way back the full distance and decided to turn around and leave, as I wasn’t seeing anything really impressive anyway. It’s a good thing I did, as the next road I planned to take took much longer than I thought it would and I had already wasted enough time…
Before leaving I did get these pictures:
As I was driving through Three Rivers I stopped to get this picture of a Paul Bunyan statue. The sun was behind it when I passed it earlier.
This was created in 1941-42 by Carroll Barnes. It is 16 1/2 feet tall and 9 feet wide. It was created from a single 200 year old sequoia log that weighed 40 tons (weight before cooking!).