Day 36 - Do Bears Sit In The Woods?

Trip Start May 19, 2008
Trip End Nov 08, 2008

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Where I stayed
Independence Creek Campground

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, June 23, 2008

By 9am we had already completed an early morning walk on the trail which led from the back of our pitch into the forest. It's a trail that doesn't seem to get much use and especially not at the time of day that we were on it.

We found lots of evidence of bear activity, like where the bark of fallen trees had been removed for them to get to the grubs inside and also paw prints, some of them rather large. We also believe that we heard a bear not far from us, but it was up and over an embankment and the undergrowth was too dense for us to see over. But whatever was making the noise was fairly large. You'll see our final "piece" of evidence in the photos!

We noticed that the visibility was quite poor this morning and once we got off the camp site we learned that a fire had broken out in another part of the park about 40 miles away on Saturday night and it was the smoke from this which was obscuring the sun.

Our first stop on our journey through the park was Tuolumne Grove, one of the three remaining stands of giant Sequoia trees in the park. We did the 2 mile hike around the grove which takes you through the Tunnel Tree, one which after being destroyed by fire in the late 1800's, had a tunnel cut through it, so that the tourists could ride through it in their horse-drawn wagons, that's how big they are! They are absolutely magnificent, words can't describe the size of them. They are the largest living things on the planet in terms of volume. An added bonus on this hike was seeing a deer on the trail in front of us.

Back in the bus we continued on the Tioga Pass through the very centre of the park. We thought the scenery was amazing before, but this was absolutely breathtaking. This pass is closed from November to May, so you can imagine how rugged it is. We even saw snow! We finally exited the park at the Tioga Pass entrance at 9945 ft above sea level. From here, the only way was down! After a brief stop for lunch overlooking a lake, we continued our descent through the Inyo National Forest and out onto Highway 395 heading south towards Bishop.

The scenery changed from granite cliffs and dense woodland, through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the more barren landscape around Independence, our destination for the evening. We camped up at Independence Creek, a small County Recreation Site, which provided pitches with a fire ring, picnic table, toilets and running water. No showers, but then what do you want for only $10 a night? And the sunset over the Sierra Nevada was fantastic!

Distance travelled: 166 miles

Total distance travelled: 1325 miles

Days on road: 16

States visited: 1

National Parks visited: 1
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