Superlatives Continued

Trip Start May 29, 2012
Trip End Jun 30, 2012

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, June 16, 2012

As our trip progressed, each of the three of us seemed to gravitate to some or other role, complete with its set of daily activities. I was chauffeur and fire starter. Mom was the hook-up and generator guru. Oh and occasional bartender although, given the high demand, this was usually a rotating responsibility. While Auntie Pollyann seemed to master all things related to cooking. And washing dishes. And... cleaning the floor. She really has a thing for clean floors. Which, when I think about it, must be pretty frustrating when camping with a niece who opts for running around barefoot... This self-assumed role, however, earned her the 'pet name' of "Martha". (I have no idea why, that's just how it was...) So Martha, Mom and I cooperated and got along pretty well on this little adventure. Somehow we fit and it all just works. :)

Departing Yosemite we followed the heat and made our way south to Sequoia National Park. Milly was pushed extremely hard on this incredibly hot day with temperatures well over 100F combined with a relentless, winding, uphill climb – from a low in Fresno of 296 feet up to a staggering 7300 for the day. We even had to give her a little break once as she was bubbling over in protest... But she recovered pretty well and we soon arrived at our peak for the day before descending slightly to 6700 feet where our campground was located.

Unlike Yosemite where the monoliths evoked a feeling of microscopic insignificance and isolation from what might lay beyond them, the dramatic expanses of Sequoia made it seem as if the peaks and canyons of the Sierra Nevada were endless. Like Yosemite, however, Sequoia was equally emphatic about bear safety given the high prevalence of black bears (no grizzlies) in the area. We even had to sign off that we had received a bear debriefing, i.e. how and where to store food, don't run if you do see a bear, etc! In spite of that, I'm pretty sure that Mom and Auntie Pollyann would've adopted the default response to run and scream hysterically. Truth be told, I likely would have joined them... Thankfully, however, the only bears we encountered were as we drove past in our safe and cosy chariot, aka Milly.

Lodgepole Campground was our resting spot while in Sequoia. It was a good spot – end of the road, relatively quiet, along a river, mountains and giant trees all around, etc. Typical idyllic Sierra Nevada setting. What it also had, which was different to many of the campgrounds we had stayed at, was showers! So, yes, even the roughest of us marched off for a bit of a scrub. NB It's significant to note that said showers were about a mile away from our actual campsite, so triple checking the 'shower essentials' checklist was pretty important. One of the things on the checklist was to bring some coins. We had yet to encounter showers that you had to pay for, but I had read that they do exist at many national parks so we were determined to be prepared. And... Lodgepole's showers turned out to be coin operated. Mom was the first guinea pig. After informing Auntie Pollyann and I (and the entire ladies' shower room) that 4 quarters wasn't enough to make the water come out, the woman in the cubicle next to her kindly shouted over the wall to inform her that the showers cost $3 (each!)... Auntie Pollyann and I – we were still outside brushing our teeth – looked at each other in slight shock and you could see the gears churning as smoke started to billow out of our ears. My thoughts were spinning around which of the three of us needed the shower the most. Auntie Pollyann, however, was on a different tack and realised that we could, in fact, afford a shower for all of us – albeit a quick and cosy one... Hahahha... aaah, family holidays. :)

Sequoia, again like Yosemite, also has this amazing shuttle system that picks us up – for free!! - right at our campground and runs on a loop route to all the most popular sights and trailheads in the park. Not only did it do wonders for reminding me that I'm not, in fact, a tour bus driver but it also kept all (or at least most) of the lousy motorhome drivers off Sequoia's insanely windy roads (yes, I include myself in that lot). Seriously, the south access road to the park is so riddled with switchbacks that you're not allowed on it if your vehicle is over 22 feet long. Truth be told: I saw an aerial view of them and I wouldn't want to drive them in a sedan...! There were lots of motorcycles on it though – and what an amazing ride that must be!

We spent an entire day walk-hiking (a new term coined to describe the activities of our illustrious trio) amidst the giant Sequoia trees. In fact, Marth... I mean Auntie Pollyann :) and Mom impressed me tremendously by braving the 400-ish steps up the side of a granite dome to the top of Moro Rock! We went first thing in the morning to avoid the heat and were rewarded with great visibility and spectacular views across the High Sierra to the Great Western Divide. From there we did an easy little walk – the Big Trees Trail – in the Giant Forest. They had a particularly interesting interpretive display whereby they mapped out the 'footprint' of a nearby Sequoia on the pathway in order to show people just how big it is. It was an average-sized Sequoia, i.e. not the biggest, but the immensity of its footprint was nonetheless shockingly impressive. Our last little amble of the day was to the General Sherman Tree, the world's largest tree – largest by mass as opposed to height, the record for the latter being held by a tree in the coastal Redwoods National Park where we were a week ago. Apparently, at a youthful 2,200 years of age the General Sherman Tree's circumference at ground level is 103 feet with one of its branches measuring almost 7 feet in diametre. I'm not sure I was truly able to appreciate that it was dramatically larger than the surrounding giants (how much bigger than huge can a tree be??)... but I chose to believe the signboards and took a photo all the same.

We returned for a late lunch / early happy hour to avoid being out during the afternoon heat. But this quickly turned into a planning session of how much we could possibly eat that day because we discovered that the fridge was... well, not cold. In fact, it was somewhere between luke-warm and cool-ish, at best. Thankfully the freezer was still in good shape, so I quickly addressed the urgent matter of chilling a couple of beers. Mom and Auntie Pollyann drink their wine – whether it's red or white – at any temperature (I know, “ewww”) so they were fine. But we did cook a lot more than usual that evening. And our descent from the mountains the following morning required a shift in priorities from a focus on the highlights promised by our next destination to a quest for technical refrigeration expertise regarding patching options vs replacement....
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Auntie Pollyann on

So good Lisa, brings so many memories back. Was so much fun!!!!

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