Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kings Canyon

May 8 - 14, 2013

It was a 100 mile drive from Three Rivers to Pine Flat Reservoir mostly through lush green farm and orchard country.  Once on Route 180, it changed, becoming very hilly with wicked curves for the 20 mile drive to the Island Campground on the Pine Flat reservoir.  This is an Army Corp of Engineering Dam project, a beautiful reservoir surrounded by mountains.  The camp host was off duty, so we just wandered around, found a site that didn't show a reservation sign and moved in.  The water system was under repair, but was fixed on Thursday and we have electric and sewer connection, telephone service, but no WiFi.  I would have to say it's one of nicest campsites we have stayed at for the view, hookups, facilities and price.  These places are always an adventure to get into with a 35 foot RV and the entrance road is incredibly steep.  

On Thursday we made a trip to Kings Canyon National Park, it's quite a ride !  Our campground is around 40-50 miles from the Park and the last 10 miles are 5,000 feet uphill.  We stopped at the park visitors center to watch the movie, always inspiring, then talked to the ranger about special places to see.  We went first to Grants Grove and the President Grant Tree, then Grizzly Falls, Roaring River Falls, Zumwalt Meadow and Muir Rock at Roads End.  They were all off of Kings Canyon scenic Byway which runs for 30 miles through the park climbing another 3,000 curvy feet along the way.  Kings Canyon is a huge Canyon, one of the deepest in the world.  Twinkles realized that her phone was missing along the way, probably left it at the visitors Center, which was a big concern all afternoon, luckily it was there in lost and found and she recovered it latter.  The weather turned cold, cloudy and rainy for a short time along the way to add to the excitement.  All in all it was a brutal driving day for me, but the sights were well worth it.  On the way back to the campground we took a shortcut  which was most interesting.  We came upon cows in the road that we had to negotiate around, then the road went right through an old farm yard that looked like something out of the Beverly Hillbillies.  There were Peacocks next to the road, pigs, all sorts of antique farm implements, old wooden wagons and lots of stuff that should be in a museum somewhere.  There was also a sign that said something to the effect; stay out, no cameras, enter and die !  So we just kept moving on down the road and saw more cows, horses, alpacas and then even wild Turkeys. The road goes past an upscale development called "Wonder Valley" which seems appropriately named.

Friday was a relaxing morning then we decided to take an hour loop drive around the reservoir on Friday afternoon.  The road that I expected to go all around the reservoir came to an end, after driving on it for more than one hour, so it was another hour and a half back to the campground.  Twinkles has been telling me not to be so cheap and buy the good map, she might be right ?  It was a beautiful ride, but more than I bargained for.  After that longer than expected ride and a brief rest it was a another hour drive to "Old Town Clovis" for their Friday night farmers market and street fair event.  We had read that it was really great farmers market and it truly was, so many fresh local fruits and vegetables !  Old Town was really nice, it was a perfect night, lots of food vendors. live music and very well attended. 

Almost all destinations here involve a long drive and not an easy one, everything is up and down, tight curves and the locals who know the roads drive like they are on the NASCAR circuit.

Lots of birds here at the reservoir.  We put up a hummingbird feeder and within a few minutes the hummingbirds were fighting over it.  Those birds may be pretty, but they are nasty, do not share or play well together !  We also have a contingent of Acorn Woodpeckers here who are beautiful birds with lots of character, very vocal and energetic. 

Sunday was a return to Kings Canyon where we hiked the "Big Stump Trail", an area that was logged for the giant Sequoias with many of the old tree stumps remaining.   We then drove off onto a narrow dirt road for 3 miles to the Redwood Canyon Trailhead where we hiked about 5 miles to the Redwood Creek Crossing. The Redwood Canyon area is the largest remaining Sequoia Tree forest in the world and the trees were incredible. It was so much more impressive to see the big trees in a totally natural forest type setting, you really got the feeling of being in the wilderness. 

Monday we were recovering from yesterdays hike, it was a reflective easy day around the campsite, did not even start the truck.  I watched the lake, was entertained by the Acorn Woodpeckers, Humingbirds and other assorted birds, read a little John Miur for mood and stayed cool in the almost 100 degree day.

The water system failed again at the campground on Sunday morning and as of Tuesday morning it is still under repair.  It's not much of a problem as I can get water from the next lower camp site to fill our fresh water tank and then we just operate off our water pump.  I think it sort of funny and scary that the Army Corp of Engineer Water Control Dam project can't seem to keep the campground water pump working

We leave here for the Yosemite area on Wednesday for a few days in an Escapees Park in Coarsegold, CA.  It's quite far from the Yosemite Park, but Coarsgold sounds like a cool town with history and the park is real cheap.  Places to stay are difficult near Yosemite as it is such a popular destination.  Once there we will explore around the area for something closer to the park. 

A few more Kings Canyon photos to be added latter, keep watching !

Twinkles and Slick

Pine Flat Reservoir view

View from our campsite

A favorite Woodpecker pole in the campground

Sacred Datura bloom at the campground

View from the road in Kings Canyon

Top of the Grizzly Falls

Roaring River falls on the King River

Twinkles in front of a huge stump

Twinkles on top of the Mark Twain stump

A designated "Kiler" tree

The Toulumne Meadows

Old Sequoia on the Redwood Canyon Trail

Twinkles looking like an ant next to huge old Sequoia 

A giant fallen Sequoia on the trail

Acorn Woodpecker on favorite tree in campground

Clovis farmers market

The classic Clovis street sign

Hummingbird at feeder

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