The Giant Forest

Trip Start Sep 15, 2007
Trip End Oct 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, October 15, 2007

Whew! What a change it's been since we left Vegas! We made it to Sequoia National Park on Friday and stayed at a campground near the entrance. On our way to the campground Silas saw a HUGE tarantula in the road, I saw 'something' in the road, and I saw that there was a car stopped by it looking at it, but I had no idea that it was a huge spider. Yuck! When we got to the campground we saw that every site had a bear box and that we were required to put EVERYTHING with an 'odor' in the box. This included food, drinks, gum, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, dish soap, candles, air freshener, wet wipes, etc... For us, since we are living in the bus, this was a lot of stuff. It was kind of a pain in the ass. Even Silas who worked at Glacier where you are required to keep any food or drinks (including water) not in immediate use inside your car, thought this was a pain. But of course we did it, and it was actually kind of nice to have all that extra space in the bus that night.
Oh yeah, on the way to Sequioa we were driving through the southern part of the Sierra Nevada's on a seriously windy road. If any of you remember the road that Jenny and I drove on in North Carolina (which was called 'The Dragon's Tail') you might have an idea of what this road was like. Silas wasn't feeling too hot and when we finally got out of the windiest part all he could talk about was how he wanted to eat a corn dog. It's funny- the things that might make some people feel sick are the things that Silas wants to eat to help him feel better.
So back to Sequoia... the next day we drove to our next campground to secure a spot and took showers. These were our most expensive showers yet...$3.25for 8 minutes!! It was SUPPOSED to be 8 minutes, but there is no way that it was that long. So far on this trip we've taken 5 minute showers and 6 minute showers and I've been fine, but this time I ran out of time in the middle. It's funny because I was washing away thinking about how I'm used to taking fast, timed showers now, but there are probably some poor schmucks out there who are in the middle of washing and the water turns off on them. I was thinking this just as I was washing my face and then the water shut off!! So I was left with soap all over my face and NO water to rinse with-not even cold water. So I had to wipe the soap off my eyes and go out to the sink just to rinse my face. Luckily there was no one else in there to see this.
After we showered we went on a short hike to the General Sherman tree and through a grove of giant Sequoias. It had rained the day before and it was pretty clear and sunny that day but in the forest it was kind of foggy which made it look really cool. Everywhere you looked there were beams of light coming through the trees. Silas really liked this effect and was taking pictures non-stop.
It was a good thing that Silas had suggested we get our campsite early because when we got back to the campground it was pretty much full. We've been trying to branch out on our dinner menus lately (we've pretty much exhausted fajitas, spaghetti, chili/mac, and grilled cheese & tomato soup) So we made a stir fry and rice for dinner. It was nice to eat something different and it's actually a pretty easy camping meal to make.
We really needed to do laundry, so the next morning I did laundry and charged the electronics while Silas packed up camp (and did dishes, and made our lunches) After we were all done we left Sequoia and entered the adjoining park- Kings Canyon and went on a hike through Redwood Canyon. The area we were hiking in said it had 'extremely high bear activity' and I was really worried that we were going to run into a bear. In fact, at the beginning of the hike I was so sure that we were going to see a bear, and I was looking around so much that I did see something- cows. After that I wasn't nearly as worried, but Silas has so many wildlife encounters that I just had a feeling that we were going to see something.
After our hike we headed to the nearest campground (Azalea) hoping that there would still be spots open. We were very surprised to see that the campground was nearly empty. It was a really nice campground too- probably the nicest one we've stayed at so far. We've been craving dessert or cookies or something almost every night after dinner but we haven't had anything since we ran our of our supply of Jacob Lake cookies, so we walked up to the store and got some and while we were there we overheard the clerk telling someone that the lodge has wireless internet. Yes! Finally we could do another entry and get you all caught up on where we are.
When we got back to the campground we found some abandoned (we think) wood and Silas got a raging fire going and we ate dinner right next to it. When we were finally able to tear ourselves away from the heat of the fire, we headed up to the bathroom and I saw the scariest thing when I was sitting on the toilet- I think it was a baby (or just a small) tarantula! I couldn't finish fast enough, and then when I came out of the stall I saw another nasty spider in the middle of the floor. So scary! I made Silas come and look at them and confirm that I wasn't just overreacting, and that yes, it was a small tarantula. We finally got in the bus and went to bed at about 9 or 9:30 which may be one of our latest nights yet.
This morning we took a walk through the General Grant grove of Sequoias and then headed up here to the lodge to charge batteries, do our travelogue entry, and shower. So that brings us up to we're off to Yosemite!

Ugh! Who would have thought that it would be so hard to get to the west side of the Sierra-Nevada Range. I was so sick while I was driving on that winding road Allison mentioned, I had to pull over three or four times. And yes, the only thing that kept me going was the thought of a delicious corndog. We drove down the west slope of the Sierras into flat, fruit orchard country, only to climb right back up the west slope into Sequioa National Park. The bear regulations were really strict in the campground because these bears know where and how to get human food. I'm so glad the bears in Glacier haven't learned that they can break into cars to get food yet. The bears in Glacier still fear people, and we like to keep it that way. I wish the people who complain to me daily about our food storage regulations In Glacier would realize that we are trying to avoid a situation like the one here in Sequoia, where bears break car windows and tear down doors to get at food. Our hike to General Sherman tree (the largest tree on Earth) and through the Giant Forest on the Congress Trail was incredible! It is one of my new favorite places. We were right at cloud level, so the whole forest was filled with a fog and steam was rising from the wet forest floor, but the sun was still shining, creating small beams through the trees. I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings or something and wanted to prance around like an elf. Instead, I took a lot of pictures. Our hike into Redwood Canyon in Kings Canyon National Park yesterday wasn't quite as dramatic, but it was still really cool. The leaves are just starting to turn here, so there were lots of yellows and reds amongst the giant Sequoias. And as Allison said, our campground last night was really nice. It was also nice to have our first campfire (aside from on the raft trip) of the whole trip. We sat beside it for a long time before returning to the bus to watch our daily episodes of Wonder Years. Today we'll drop back down into the California fruit orchards and urban sprawl again, only to climb back into the Sierras to the north at Yosemite. My poor, poor bus. I'm sure these repeated 7,000 ft. climbs are taking their toll. But despite leaking a bit of oil, she is still running strong.
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myamamoto on

Corn Dogs?
Yay! I'm the first, and I wasn't even trying. I can't imagine craving a corndog after having a queasy stomach. Sort of makes me nauseous thinking about it! Sounds like you guys are having fun-can't wait to see your pictures!

syamamoto on

elves and such...
My god, Silas' comment about 'prancing like an elf' had me laughing out loud! Thank goodness everybody in my office is a little loopy from the long summer...nobody even questions my outbursts :) I'll come back and look again once there are pictures, but I hope you got some tarantula pictures!

mom717 on

Cheaters Always Win
Melissa and Sarah must cheat in order to be first to comment. OR...someone is tipping them off as to when new updates are being posted - ALLISON!

Anyway, there is NO WAY I could be able to sleep or use the facilities if there were tarantulas there.

It's good to hear you're doing good and are safe and having fun.

alandjen on

Guys! You've been doing a good job, not letting us hang for too long between entries. Glad you and the bus are still working! I was hoping to hear that Allison trapped all those tarantulas under glasses in order to release them back into the wild... Hey, you're getting close to Mikey's (my bro) neck of the woods! Give me a call if you want his #! See you,

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