**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
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For this blog post, I've split the day up into two blog entries. When we were in Sequoia National Park, not only did we witness the most beautiful forest of sequoia trees in the world, but we hiked up to my favorite vista point we had seen the entire trip - Moro Rock! Since I captured some of my favorite pictures of the whole trip at this one location, I've created a separate blog post just for it. To view the incredible scenes from Moro Rock, click on the link below. But first, scroll through this blog post to see the mystical trees of Grant Grove, Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park, and our final drive to the Pacific Coast!
It was hard to believe our week long monumental trip we had planned for a year was finally on its last stretch. While we were each beyond exhausted, I was kind of sad this day was my last day I would spend in the most amazing National Parks I had ever visited - that is until I make my next trip across the US. But only did I not know, these last two days I would see some of my most memorable spots of the whole trip!
After sleeping three nights in Camp Curry under the massive granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley amongst hundreds of other campers, our silent night in our dainty cabin in Grant Grove, Kings Canyon National Park was rather pleasant. For three nights, Camp Curry mainly served as our place to crash after our long days of adventuring Yosemite. With it being a small tent packed between a village of white tents and rather noisy people all around us, we could hear almost everything throughout the night including a screaming child each night around 3:00am. But our cabin in Grant Grove was nicely secluded under a forest of huge trees with not near as many people around us. The cabin from the outside wasn't too special (although to me, I really liked it), but in the inside it had the same feel as a vacation log cabin in the mountains. I would have loved to spend more time there.
After sleeping a little later than normal and a refreshing $1 hot water shower, we took our time as we packed up for the last time all of our junk we accumulated throughout our road trip. Our first destination was the Kings Canyon Grant Grove trail, which was a nice cool morning hike through a path of legendary sequoia trees. Only about 5 minutes from our cabin, this forest of sequoia trees was home of the 2nd largest sequoia tree in the world, "General Grant". Named in honor or Ulysses S. Grant in 1867, the huge tree was coined the "Nation's Christmas Tree" by President Calvin Coolidge.
The following pictures take you along the Grant Grove trail to see the General Grant amongst other huge sequoia trees and even through the center of a fallen sequoia tree.
Grant Grove, Kings Canyon National Park
Below: Walking through the inside of the Fallen Moncarch (a fallen sequoia tree):
Below: The 2nd largest tree in the world - the General Grant sequoia tree
Sequoia National Park
After hiking in Grant Grove, we continued on the scenic Generals Highway out of Kings Canyon National Park and into Sequoia National Park, where we would see the most condensed forest of sequoia trees the entire trip! Up until then, Yosemite's Mariposa Grove and Kings Canyon's Grant Grove were only a patch compared to the dense forest of Sequoia National Park.
The drive through the park was as if you were in a fantasy land, as every turn you pass through some of the biggest trees in the world. We had our sunroof open during this drive so we could see the shear beauty of the sequoia canopy we were driving under. Our first major attraction on the drive was driving underneath the famous Tunnel Log - a fallen sequoia tree large enough to drive through! Then we made our way to the parking area to hike to the largest tree in the world - General Sherman. Its hard to capture the magnificent grandness of these beautiful trees in photographs, but I've include pictures of people and us in them to show you the scale of how large they are. To fully grasp how huge they are, you need to experience them in person if you ever have the privilege!
Also in Sequoia National Park, we drove to Moro Rock where we would see the most amazing vista point we had seen the whole trip. Remember to click on the link above to see those pictures!
Below: The famous Tunnel Log tree, large enough for our car to drive through!
Below: The next 4 pictures are of the largest tree in the world - General Sherman
Pacific Coast Highway - Route 1
After spending half our day in the largest sequoia forests in the world, it was time for us to make our last long drive of our trip. We decided to turn our trip to San Francisco into a five hour scenic drive straight westward to hit the Pacific Ocean and follow the Pacific Coast Highway north to our final destination. Our off the route path consisted of us driving through the beautiful farmlands of the Central Valley of California, through Los Banos, up the golden hills and coastal mountains, through the town of Hollister and reaching the Pacific Coast at Santa Cruz.
There are many places I would love to revisit in the future (Lone Pine, Kings Canyon, etc) but the Pacific Coast is definitely at the top of all of them. Being my first time I had ever seen the Pacific Ocean, I was amazed at the vast beauty surrounded by ocean, mountains, and giant rock cliffs. To top it off, we reached the coast right as the sun was going down so it certainly made a dramatic effect!
In the beautiful beach town of Santa Cruz, we drove to the Natural Bridge State Park where we saw the amazing rock formation of a bridge out in the ocean - something you have probably seen in a lot of magazines. Then we drove up the coast and found a nice pull off for beach access along the Pacific Coast Highway. To say the least, it was simply breathtaking - the pictures will tell. I did take the advantage to get into the cold water up to my knees to say that I'd been in the Pacific Ocean. Finally, we continued driving north as a dense fog began to engulf us. The Pacific Ocean is well known for its foggy weather, especially around the San Francisco area. While we were driving in the dark fog, we could see a flashing light in the distance. As we got closer we could tell it was from a beautiful lighthouse - the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. This was a paradise for lighthouse lovers. We only had a couple minutes to get out and see the beautiful place since it was getting dark. I would love to go back there again. We finally made it to our last destination, our hotel in San Francisco, tired and worn out...knowing tomorrow would be our last full day of vacation.
Thanks for reading my post about Day 7! It really was an awesome day, and I'm grateful we were able to fit everything we wanted to do in our entire trip. I'm sure a lot of you are amazed at how much we did on our "vacation", but for us we wanted to see as much as we could in 8 days! I mean how often do you get to go across the United States?
Stay tuned one more time, because the next day would be our last full day of vacation. Spending the whole day in San Francisco was what was on the docket before we boarded our plane that evening at 11pm to come home. You're in for a treat, because like I said in my last blog post...one of the best scenes of the entire trip is yet to come!
By the way, don't forget to check out my favorite scene from the whole trip that we saw in Sequoia National Park. I created a blog post just for it!