**Click the links below to visit all of my galleries from my Western Trip or to purchase a Seth Berry Photography print:
Yosemite National Park | Death Valley National Park | Sequoia National Park | Kings Canyon National Park
Mono Lake, CA | Bodie, CA | Nevada Deserts | California | San Francisco
For this edition of my Western Road Trip blog post, my roommate Robbie will be my guest blogger so he can give his perspective on our awesome adventure and what we did on day 6. I hope you enjoy!
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It was hard to believe that the last day of our time in Yosemite was already upon us. For the last three days Yosemite was our backyard to explore and connect with all of God’s beauty. After a year of planning and researching, our time in Yosemite was coming to an end; but as you can guess, we still had an action packed morning exploring Yosemite before continuing our journey to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.
Even though it was the middle of August, the mornings in Yosemite Valley had a fall like feel to them and this morning was no exception! Upon leaving our Curry Village tent for the last time, we were greeted with cloudless blue skies set above the majestic granite cliffs of the valley floor. This was the perfect backdrop for our last views of Yosemite Valley.
With Chris’s mandatory and much needed coffee in his hands, we started our journey to Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove. We didn’t make it too far though until we decided to stop at Cathedral Beach for a few pictures and that one last stop at Tunnel View for our final farewell view of the Valley.
The Mariposa Grove
After about an hour drive out of Yosemite Valley we arrived at the southernmost section of the park where Yosemite’s largest grove of giant sequoias are located. No matter how many pictures we had seen of giant sequoias prior to our trip, nothing prepared us for the wow factor of seeing these enormous trees for the first time.
Although we would be spending time at Sequoia National Park, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see some of the famous Mariposa Grove residents including the Grizzly Giant (the Largest Sequoia in Yosemite), The California Tunnel Tree (A standing sequoia with a tunnel carved into the trunk) and the fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree (the first tree ever to have a tunnel carved through its trunk).
The first few pictures are the main pictures from Mariposa, but view the slideshow to see them all.
Below: The Fallen Monarch
Below: The Grizzly Giant is the 5th largest sequoia tree in the world. Check out how huge this tree is below, but keep in mind that the next day in Sequoia National Park we would see the 1st and 2nd largest trees in the world!
Below: The California Tunnel Tree
Below: The Clothespin Tree...looks sort of like a clothespin doesn't it?
View Slideshow of all photos from Mariposa
Most people would have called it a day after our action packed morning, but we were just getting started. After leaving Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove, we started our 3 hour journey to Kings Canyon National park with a quick stop in Fresno for lunch at In-N-Out Burger. It’s amazing to know that these beautiful National Parks with their granite cliffs and green meadows and trees lie within such a desert climate. There was no doubt that we were in desert country as it was evident as soon as we left the Yosemite gates and along our journey through Fresno and into Kings Canyon.
Kings Canyon National Park
Arriving in Kings Canyon around 4 PM, we stopped by the Visitor Center quickly to grab our Grant Grove Cabin keys and started making our descent down the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway into the canyon floor to visit the Zumwalt Meadow, Roaring River Falls and Grizzly Falls. We knew we were short on daylight so bypassed the cabin itself in hopes to see as much as possible. I wish we would have had another full day to explore this majestic park as the drive along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway was one of the most amazing roads I’ve ever been on. We did make a few stops at some of the scenic overlooks, but knew that we had to keep trekking on if we were going to see the main sites on the canyon floor that we had planned. Every turn though afforded views of soaring mountain peaks and deep canyons.
Below: Notice the road that we would drive on in the foreground! This was an amazing drive weaving around the mountains to get to the canyon!
Zumwalt Meadows Hike
We managed to make it to Zumwalt Meadow right before sunset and quickly started the 1.5 mile loop around the meadow. Almost immediately into the hike we came across a suspension like bridge over the Kings River and could see similarities between Kings Canyon and Yosemite. We found it very interesting that there would be so many cliffs and peaks with same and similar names between the two parks such as North Dome and Grand Sentinel.
After quickly making our way through Zumwalt Meadow, we made our way over to Roaring River Falls. We arrived at the 40 foot falls right before nightfall and were rewarded with a spectacular view of the moon rising above the canyon walls and waterfall. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to spend here as we wanted to see Grizzly Falls and daylight had all but expired. We continued up the road to Grizzly Falls but were a little too late as the sun had completely set beyond the canyon walls. This didn’t stop us though from grabbing our headlamps and making the short hike to the base of Grizzly falls. Though you could barely see the water coming over the edge, you could hear the roar of the falls. From what we could see, it is definitely a waterfall worthy of going back to explore again.
As the case for the previous nights in Yosemite and Lone Pine, nighttime in Kings Canyon brought along God’s light show. As we made our hour ascent out of the canyon, you could see the thousands of stars come to life and provide an endless view of the galaxy that we live in. At one point, we pulled over and turned all the lights off to gaze above the canyon walls as we soaked in our last night in the National Parks.
One Night in Grant Grove
As we closed out our evening exploring the area around our Grant Grove Cabin, Seth and I experienced one of the things I love most about traveling which is meeting the people that call these beautiful locations home. This evening was even more exceptional as we were searching for something to eat, we realized that there were absolutely no restaurants or shops open inside Kings Canyon. We ran into a park employee near the visitor center who was leaving for the evening. We stopped to ask her if she knew of anywhere nearby to grab a bite to eat. She said everything was closed but to follow her and she would open up the market just for us. She gave us free reign inside the little market and conversed with us about our journey and places she had visited herself. Because of her generosity we were able to enjoy a wonderful meal on the porch of our cabin consisting of Pop Tarts, Fritos and an Ice Cream Sandwich!
Thanks to everyone for reading about our Day 6 Adventure and to Seth for allowing me the opportunity to write the special guest blog. Stay tuned for Day 7 as we explore the largest trees in the world in Sequoia National Park and make our way to our final trip destinations of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco! ~ Robbie
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As Robbie said, stay tuned for the last 2 days of our awesome Western Road Trip! You're not going to want to miss these next two days because I've got some of my most favorite pictures from the trip coming up!! Thanks again for reading, and thank you Robbie for sharing your experience by writing this day's blog post!