Day 15 Sequoia National Park

Trip Start May 15, 2009
Trip End Jun 04, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, May 29, 2009

Awake at 6am and up at 7am. Pancakes, bacon and eggs for breakfast - I made the bacon so crispy I managed to set off the smoke detector! As we had to vacate this site today as I could only get 153 for 2 days and have to move to 205 tonight, we stowed away all our stuff, or chairs, firewood etc. and headed on out of the camp and down to the Museum to park up.
Just before we turned the corner to the museum car park, there was the telltale sign of a car stopped by the side of the road taking photos - bears! We slowed down to see what was there and here was a mummy bear and baby bear chomping away in the grass. We got some photos and video footage and headed off to the carpark, parked up and went back down to the bears. There were some other tourists there by then. The baby bear was having fun running up trees and back down again. A couple of Rangers noticed everyone down there and came along and shoed us away saying that we needed to be at leat 50 yards away and we were only 20 - spoilsports.
We went off to start our hike up Bear Hill, as we went past on the path people were still slowing down and being chased away by Rangers from the 2 other bears. Up we hiked, round Bear Hill which apparently was named because people used to come up and throw their trash off the hill and watch bears fight over it. The trail leads over towards Moro Rock. We descended down and into Moro Rock to use the toilets. We got there just as the sewage wagon was about to empty them out (they are cesspit type toilets). We got away just in time before the odours wafted about the place.
The next trail we took after that was the Soldier Trail leading from Moro Point towards the Log Tunnel, this is a big tree that has fallen across the road that they have chopped a section out of so cars can drive under it. As we watched, people would turn up, drop someone off, drive round the bypass and then be photographed coming back through the tunnel. That was OK when there was only one car but when several people tried it at once there was chaos.
We continued up the Soldier Trail. After all the times going round on trails, this time we actually met 2 other couples coming the opposite way. If anyone else fancies this trail, I would highly recommend south to north the direction we did it in because there is an awful drop at the north end and some severe switchbacks that would bugger you up for the rest of the trail.
We joined onto the Hazelwood Loop Trail and went round that before coming out at the Round Meadow trail. Here we did a pit stop and then sat and had our sandwiches and Reese bars (yum!).
It was just after midday by now. We thought we would go on the Sunset Rock Trail as it was just beside Round Meadow and along the side of where mummy and baby bear had been this morning so we might see them again.
Off we yomped along the trail and up the hill. About 20 minutes into our walk, I spotted a black bear off to the left in the trees. He appeared to be coming in our direction! Now I know we have been trying to get photos of bears this trip, but there's something about several hundred pounds of furry creature with claws that can run like buggery if it really wants to - I kept the camera on maximum zoom. I had already decided if he took a run at us the best place to go was down the really steep side of the hill, I doubt he would have wanted to run down there after us.
He was sniffing and rummaging in the ground and roots trying to find bugs and grubs to eat. We tailed along with him for almost 20 minutes making sure we kept a good distance. He came over and crossed the trail over to the other side and continued along, stopping to devastate some tree root for some bugs before going deeper into the undergrowth. We daintily continued on the trail, looking off to the side to the last place we had seen him, hoping we wouldn't suddenly come bounding out towards us. 10 minutes later we were at Sunset Rock - it's a big rock and you can sit and watch sunset at it. We started on back, watching the side of the trail as we went passed the last known location but he seemed to have gone.
So off we strode back down the path happy in the knowledge that we had survived our close encounter of the bear kind. And then we had a close encounter of the second kind - a brown bear! He was on the right hand side of the path and was obviously coming straight across the path till he seen us. He stopped and looked us over while we looked him over. He slowly made his way towards the path but swung away from us a bit, we kept well back again until he had crossed and then got some good shots of him as he went along the other side and away.
So, 2.5 days here we have now seen 7 bears, that's damned good odds! And there's still tonight and Kings Canyon to go, Today is Day 15, it doesn't seem that we have been away 2 weeks. I think next time it will have to be a month anyway.
We got back to the Museum, had another pit stop (I don't know why they say you have to drink all this water, all it means it you wee more!) and caught the Shuttle to Crescent Meadow.
From here we did a gentle stroll along the Crescent Meadow loop, along the Tharps Log route and back to the car park. Tharps Log is a cabin that a man (called Tharp!) built and used to stay in - except it is PROPER Log cabin - the hollowed out inside of a log. Imagine all the bugs...
We caught the Shuttle back to the Museum. It was now 3.45pm so we went back to the RV and drove back up the road. On the way we stopped at the Pinewood Picnic area and stocked up with fallen wood for this evenings fire as we know the campground has been picked clean. We stopped at the gift shop on the way into Lodgepole for some tourist tat and then checked in for this evenings site, 205 which was just along from where we had been. There is no-one at our old slot, I bet it remains empty, the swines.
Sitting outside catching up with the blog and photos, there were a lot of black flies and midgie looking wee files buzzing about, never noticed them before, it may be because there was more of a breeze before. Come 5pm we started up the generator to charge the laptop and batteries and Catriona had a cuppa (I was on my second beer by then). The clouds had cleared as it as been dull most of the day so it looks like it may be a nice evening. The campsite seems quieter but I think that is just because the weekend rush has not yet arrived.
At 6.30 I started up the fire which got going well with the wood we had collected. By 6.50 the clouds had closed over and it started to rain - as in chuck it down. This was very closely followed by loud rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning. This went on for about 45 minutes. Food tonight was ribs, wings and a salad bowl which we had to have inside the RV.
After the rain had stopped I went back out and restarted the fire. The chairs were quite wet but we sat outside reading books till it got too dark. Meantime people kept arriving and filling the vacant slots, obviously people starting to arrive for the weekend.
The fire burnt well till we ran out of wood about 9.45 when we retired inside and I finished off the Carrot Cake while Catriona munched on Jelly Bellies. We went to sleep about 11pm, with us moving location to Kings Canyon tomorrow.
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