A remarkable thing about California is that all year long you have an option to camp. Whether its winter or summer you can enjoy mountain, lake, river, beach and desert camping. On one of these occasions we decided to explore Sequoia National Park. What a feeling it is to camp among these red giants that are hundreds of years old. There is a unique fresh lumber smell when you first get out of the car to pitch your tent that I feel is unique to those parts. It could be a little bad on someone with allergies but wonderful for those that are not affected. You look around this magnificent forest and its moss covered mounds and you just feel happy. That sums up how we experienced the sequoias.
We decided to drive in taking the back way also known as the “long way to Sequoia”, coming in from Kern County and through the hills and mountains into this national park. The long way allowed us to stop at all the various streams and riverbanks to fish for trout. The Sequoia park has over 16 campgrounds but we decided to stay at the Lodgepole campground, although knowing it will be busy with a lot of 214 campsites, the smaller campgrounds are a bit too far away from the Giant Forest which as a first timer it is a must see. Surprisingly at night we had peace and quiet, it seems that the people who camp at this park are early risers that tend to be less noisy at night which was great!
At this campground we were visited by a small black bear that was very curious at what we were cooking for our late breakfast that morning. So we did what the parks tell all comers to do, make loud noises and scare the bear off which worked perfectly. At night we had a large mule deer hang out 6-8 feet from our campfire just observing us as we played Trivial Pursuit (www.trivialpursuit.com) like the great nerds we are.
Hiking trails are all around you and we definitely recommend them! If you want to see all the famous giant sequoias, you do need your car or a bike because it’s quite a walk through meadows and paths.
Another thing that was great about Lodgepole was that it was right on the Marble Fork of the Kiweah River which is great during the summer when you want to dip your feet or maybe wonderful for those who love to fall asleep to the sound of a stream of water.
More on Sequoia history at: http://www.visitsequoia.com/sequoia-history.aspx