2021 Aug 08 | Ogii birthday in Sequoia National Forest

Ogii's birthday presents all lined up.

Some sunglasses.


... beach chair towel clips.

Mini duct tape roll and magnetic clips (all cruise stuff).

Jigsaw puzzle.

Build a Yurt book.

Coins from her birthday year and our anniversary year.

50 Years of the Mongolian Republic medal.

More cruise presents.

All kinds of little things.

A bigger one.

She saw this chess set at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and thought it was cool, so I got it for her.

Driving to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park for the weekend. On our way through Fresno we saw this group of bicyclists.

Is it weird that Mr. 420 is biking is kid around?

We had dinner at The Lime Lite.

The bar had a little window on each side that the bartender could pass drinks through to patrons sitting outside.

Us with our meals, prime rib and New York Wagyu.

Birthday ice cream.

Next present: a backpack from Yosemite.

With little stuffed animals that pop out.

Although their bodies take up a lot of space inside the backpack.

There was lots of smoke above the city.

Thankfully it was gone by the time we got to the park.

First stop: Grant Grove. We got there at 8am and the parking lot was almost empty.

Checking out the info signs.

A very short circular hike.

The Fallen Monarch.

Which you can walk inside.

Ogii's video through it.

A log used as part of the fence.

Us in front of the General Grant tree.

The back of this bench had fallen down some, but that created the perfect angle for looking at the tree.

Another fallen tree with holes in it.

Gamlin cabin.

Pretty sparse inside. Just a fireplace.

Me inside the roots of a tree.

Ogii giving one a hug.

Driving on Kings Canyon Scenic Byway.

Ogii got a neat picture of a lone flower.

The entrance to Hume Lake has a volleyball court and kayaks.

Ogii at the water's edge.

Many minnows.

You can take this path down and cross a bridge.

But we took this other trail. And a shortcut.

Slipping through the fence.

Driving across a little bridge.

Some big rock formations.

A river by the road.

Grizzly Falls.

Multiple levels.

A few rock cairns on top of a boulder at the bottom.

Ogii cooling off.

Our next stop was Roaring River Falls, but now that it was 11am, the small parking area was full.

Thankfully there was a large area just across the bridge which was empty.

Very clear water.

The falls.

Beautiful emerald green water.

The parking lot near Muir Rock was also full near noon, although there was space in the overflow lot.

Muir Rock on the right, a beach on the left.

People jumping off the rock above and tubers below.

Lots of people up the river a bit.

When we parked here, there was nobody else. By a bit past noon, it was full. So definitely a good idea to get up early and hit the popular spots before they fill up.

Our next stop was Zumwalt Meadow. Again, the parking lot was full, but people just pulled over on the side of the road.

Ogii on the bridge.

There she is.

This tiny section of this tiny bridge was out, but you could just walk around on the ground to the side.

In the meadow.

Some orange berries by the river.

Their branches have lots of spikes.

People hanging out by the river.

Back across the big bridge.

Boyden Cavern. We didn't go because it didn't look all that great, and we would likely have had to book in advance and didn't know when we would be there.

The forecast said it would be in the 60s, but it was actually in the 80s and 90s. Good thing we packed shorts as well.

"Caution, ice cream ahead?"

Ah, at the little lodge.

America's oldest double gravity gas pumps at Kings Canyon Lodge. They actually work.

$4 for wifi. We could only get internet right near the entrance of the park, so if we needed it, this might have been useful, but we were fine without internet for the weekend. Although that's mainly because I downloaded the area on Google Maps on my phone ahead of time; it would have been a bit harder without that, although everything is pretty much on a single road, so you can't really miss most of the stops.

We got our ice cream, as did this wooden bear carving.

An awesome paint job on this rental van.

The family drew pictures of themselves in the dust.

The store at Kings Canyon Visitor Center.

A t-shirt with the tallest trees in the park.

It's probably a good place to see stars as well.

A deer by the side of the road.

Tons of rock cairns at King's Canyon Overlook.

Me in the middle of them.

We built miniature ones.

Saturday night we stayed at Stony Creek Lodge. They were one of the few places in the park which had gas.

Very nice inside.

Basic but comfortable rooms.

A convenience store.

Their wifi was down the entire time we were there. That also meant they couldn't accept credit cards. Good thing we always carry cash.

Dining area.

With pizza.

Our room is right up there; I wonder if they would have tossed our pizza up to us through our window if we wanted to eat in the room?

But it was a beautiful day, so might as well enjoy it outside.

More deer.

And one across the road.

At the General Sherman Tree trail.

Somewhat steep but not too long.

7,000 feet elevation.

People waiting in line to get a picture with the tree.

A fallen tree beside it.

Getting a picture from the side.

Us in front of it. It's the world's largest tree, measured by volume.

We spotted a doe and her two fawns right around sunset there.

The fawns are so cute when they hop.

Inside a tree.

A cut one.

The General Sherman footprint.

Sunset through the trees.

The tanker truck filling up the gas pumps at the lodge.

Next present.

A necklace.

Black Hills Gold with a diamond.

Up early the next morning for sunrise. We went back to the King's Canyon Overlook, but we stopped for some bigger rocks on the way.

Ogii with her stones.

And her creation.

A little village.

She put a fence around it.

Some large slabs of rock by the side of the road.

We hiked up them.

And found some more rocks.

So we made another cairn.

It's amazing how trees can grow through these rocks.

The lodge has two pay phones. You don't see these much any more, but we didn't get cell phone service here or almost anywhere else, so they could be useful. Then again, we didn't check to see if they actually still work.

Summer sausage and various other items for breakfast.

A huge tree on the side of the road.

Parking at the Giant Forest Museum.

A big tree there.

I had read that you couldn't drive through this area of the park on weekends; you had to take the shuttle bus. However, a park ranger told us we could drive ourselves if we entered before 8am. After that they closed it to private traffic as it was too busy and the parking lots would be too crowded. Since we had arrived at 7:45am to catch the first shuttle at 8am, we hurried back to our car and just made it through. Which meant we could drive Ogii's RAV4 through Tunnel Log.

Ogii got a video of me driving.

National Park Photography Expeditions. That's fun.

Looks like an engagement shoot.

Ogii inside the roots of a massive fallen tree.

Our next stop was Moro Rock. This display says there are over 350 steps to the top, and I counted exactly 350.

Starting off.

A tree fell down the side.

Ogii coming up.

Me a bit higher.

Here she comes.

Enjoying the early morning sun.

Peeking through under some rocks.

We made it to the top.

Beautiful view.

There were a few other people there who were nice enought to trade photo taking jobs.

Ogii got a hyperlapse of our hike down. It was still pretty empty this early in the day; only a few other people.

Moro Rock from below.

Crescent Meadow.

It's nice to have a sunroof when you're looking at tall trees.

A bunch together.

Their bark is very soft.

Me checking out the Parker Group.

We spotted some bear cubs eating berries on the side of Generals Highway.

Momma was nearby watching them.

A short video Ogii got.

Our final point of interest in the parks was Buck Rock Lookout. You had to drive on this very bumpy dirt road to get there; an SUV was recommended due to all of the holes and elevations. There were also horse rides there.

The lookout from the dirt road.

Now just a short hike to the base.

And then a short hike to the top.

Up these old stairs. I carried the backpack of the woman who was working there this week so she didn't have to haul it up.

A few rock climbers.

Ogii halfway up by the big metal door in the stairs.

Last stretch.

Me at the top.

Great views all around.

The little lookout it very well equipped. There's bed, a stove...

... a mini fridge, a sink, and many, many maps.

Us at the corner.

Even a hummingbird feeder with a little guy who managed to fly all the way up here.

We got to go inside.

The woman on the left would be up here for the next five days watching for fires.

And use this instrument to figure out where they are.

Ogii signing the guestbook.

Another hummingbird made his way up there.

Coming back down.

A little store at the bottom.

Nicely carved bench.

This Lexus was making the trip. I hope they don't get stuck.

Our last stop before we headed back home was lunch at Grant Grove Restaurant. The park felt like a miniature Yosemite. It's nice that all of the major sights are on the single road, so you just drive down that and hit everything. Also, you could see all of the major attractions with very short hikes, usually under half mile, so we saw all of the top points of interest in a single weekend. The unplanned animals sightings we randomly happened across were the top hightlight.