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Old 05-15-2009, 09:29 AM   #1
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Location: Irvine, Calif.
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Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nat’l Parks – a May bike-hike-bike “triathlon”

With our Middle School daughter in Science Camp May 11-13, lev-wife and I had a chance for a 3-day getaway.
(Don’t feel too sorry for our daughter – her school camp was on Catalina Island.)

During last year’s Science Camp we took our dirt bikes to Death Valley for a bike-n-hike “duathlon” as described here.
This year it was predicted to be hot in the desert, so we headed to the mountains.

Highway 198 connecting Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks was recently cleared, and Hwy 180 into Kings Canyon and one campground had just opened.
We figured this would be a good time to beat the summer heat and crowds. Two days of riding – up & back – with some hiking/exploring on the day between. (Natl Park Service “interactive map” here)

Day 1 – the ride up (route & map link here)

200 miles of superslab from SoCal brought us to the Sequoia foothills. The view below is looking northeast from near the Park entrance up the Kaweah River gorge. Our first destination was Moro Rock, seen protruding on the upper left. We’d been there on an XC-ski trip in Feb ’08, but it was covered in snow and ice and we didn’t make it to the top.

Views were great on the ride up the hill.

The top of Moro Rock (6700 ft.) afforded good views of the very fun road we’d come up

as well as views of the Sierra crest.

Next we headed over to the Giant Forest area. The road we’d skied last Feb

was clear in May.

Crescent Mdw Rd goes through Tunnel Log,

and now we could ride under it.

Leaving Sequoia we headed to Kings Canyon – there were fine views dropping into the gorge

and along the middle fork.

After 330 miles, 102 miles of it in the mountains, we arrived at Cedar Grove (~5000’). Sentinel Campground made a nice headquarters.

Day 2 – hiking only (skip to Day 3 if you’re just into bike porn)

Day 2 was to be off the bikes and included a stroll to roads end (~6 miles) and a hike up to Mist Falls (4.6 miles).
There were good views of the Kings river and canyon along the way

as well as some wildlife

(why do they call ‘em black bears when they’re brown?)

All the rivers were high with snowmelt this time of year, and the Kings Middle Fork was raging

Mist Falls was spectacular with the runoff – hard to capture the image, let alone the sound and spray, in a photo

The water and wind were cold enough that we put on jackets to get within 100’

Had to watch your step on the trail - a diamondback?

This, of course, is a King snake

(Kings Canyon, get it? )

The view looking down canyon was spectacular

We returned to camp on the other side of the river passing by Zumwalt Meadow.

A full day (~21 miles), but tomorrow we’d just be sitting on the bikes again.

Day 3 – back on the bikes

We’d seen a short dirt road along the river near road’s end, and it was calling the GS’s name. Too bad there isn’t more of this in the Park!

Heading home we tried to minimize freeway miles and maximize time in the Sierra foothills.
The route we took includes ~200 miles of mountain twisties.

Hwy 245 down the hill was too much fun - didn’t stop for any pics until things leveled out near this offbeat saloon.

Ms-levity was having fun with the MP3 on Hwy 245

and on Yokohl Valley Rd.

Don’t usually stop for flower pics, but this hillside was on Yokohl Valley was covered.

Hwy 190 from Springville over to Johnsondale was also fantastic, but we were on a push to get home so no pics.
Did pause along the upper Kern River - the east side rivers basins are dry in contrast to those on the forested west side.

All-in-all, a great 3-day getaway!!!
(Oh yeah, lev-kid had a great time at Catalina too!)

levity screwed with this post 05-25-2009 at 07:38 PM
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:20 AM   #2
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Oh My God! What vivid images! THANK YOU!

That part of the country looks so inviting, honestly, thank you for posting this. How about a few lines about the camera too?
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:20 AM   #3
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Lucky to have this beauty in your backyard and have a spouse who rides. Gotta love that 3 wheeled Piaggio! Thanks for the report and awesome pics.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:05 PM   #4
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Man you sure know how to make a desk bound person jealous!!! That is some amazing and beautiful country you have there, thanks for the RR. I am not too far from there, I will have to add this to my list of places to get to. Thanks again.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:40 PM   #5
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Great pics! Gotta love those MP3's. Looks like it was a fantastic ride. Sure did make for a nice little daydream for me.
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Old 05-15-2009, 03:45 PM   #6
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Love the pictures!

I have to ask though - snakes, why does it always have to be snakes? I'm picking my feet up under my desk and we don't even have snakes like that near here!!
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:09 PM   #7
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Thumb Awesome report Sir Lev.

Pictures are fantastic.

Ditto on the snake comment. I grew up in the desert and those little suckers scare the crap out of me. I think I'd rather take my chances with Yogi the bear.

This park is now on my list of must do's.

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Old 05-15-2009, 04:17 PM   #8
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great TR & pix, thx! I'm heading up towards the Sierras next week, so it's nice to see a preview :)

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Old 05-15-2009, 04:23 PM   #9
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My bucket list just keeps getting longer and longer! Stunning photos of some amazing scenery .... I'm definitely living on the wrong side of the country.

Thanks for posting, you just added yet another place I HAVE to ride!
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:34 PM   #10
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Great RR levity... I'll be up there on your old 990 in two weeks, but the other side of the mountains. I've never been to Kings area, looks great.
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:10 PM   #11
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Great photos of your trip so far. I made a fast pass there but didn't have the time to really explore the places as I had to get to Yosemite and then to a friends home in Manitou Springs, Co.

Snakes, a way of life for guys and gals down here that were raised near the bayous and swamps of South Louisiana. Just have to always be on the lookout and respect them.

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Old 05-16-2009, 04:22 AM   #12
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Snakes on a Scooter

Snakes on a Scooter...Wasn't there a Movie like that ?
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:43 PM   #13
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What one man can do; another man can do. The Edge.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:44 PM   #14
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Great ride and terrific pics. Looks like a fine time was had by all

Ride safe. keep up the adventure


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Old 05-25-2009, 04:45 PM   #15
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Postscript / Supplement

lev-kid was jealous that she didn’t get to see Kings Canyon, so we returned Memorial Day weekend.
Took the campervan , so I guess it’s now a bike-hike-bike-drive-hike pentathlon.

a few addn’l pics:

Morraine campground near the end of Hwy180

the view hiking up the South Fork of the Kings

just above Mist Falls

lunch break in Paradise Valley on the South Fork of the Kings

another view of Zumwalt Meadows

on the way out visited the General Grant tree sequoia grove – impressive giants!

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