After three full days, we left LA around 7:30 in the morning, and headed north to the Sequoia National Park. We had about 4-hour drive in front of us and Sequoia NP was our only stop and the highlight of the day.
It was quite a long drive to Sequoia but the roads, fields, and mountains around were changing every few kilometers and we enjoyed the ride. As we entered the park we went up and up. Driving on edges of the cliffs, slowly progressing on steep and serpentine roads.
Sequoia trees only grow in 1500 to 2100 meters above sea levels. The climate and temperature here were quite different than in LA and cities under the park.
We made a few stops in the park to take pictures with thousands of years old Sequoia trees. We spend a couple of hours walking in the Giant Forest and saw the largest Sequoia – General Sherman Tree, from a close. There were more tourists here than there were in Zion Park, but it still wasn’t too crowded.
Trunks of many trees were partially damaged by fires of previous years, but the Sequoias are strong and resistant. They actually thrive in fire damaged areas. Burned branches and logs provide the best environment for the Sequoia seedling growth.
We spent the night in Fresno and got up early the next day to leave for Yosemite. Our first stop in Yosemite Valley was at Tunnel View, a point from which we saw all the beauty Yosemite Valley has to offer. There was El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil waterfall on the right, Half Dome in the distance and the whole Yosemite Valley in front of us.
An early May it’s still off-season in Yosemite and a lot of construction work was happening on many roads in the park. The park felt much more crowded than Grand Canyon or Zion. We drove through the valley, hoping we could park somewhere and have a lunch, but we had no luck.
Instead, we drove to our hotel, Rush Creek Lodge. This was a total splurge, the most expensive place we stayed in during our trip but it was well worth it. At first, we thought we would go back to the valley later in the afternoon, but after arriving at the hotel we decided to take advantage of everything it had to offer.
We enjoyed afternoon sun at the poolside terrace, rested by the fireplace in the guest lounge, had a nice dinner in the tavern and made s’mores after sunset. We met very friendly people by the outside fireplace and had a nice evening discussing travels, life in the US vs Europe, work, etc.
Hetch Hetchy Valley
After a good night’s sleep, we spend a lazy morning at the hotel. The weather completely changed during the night and it was only 11 degrees with a chance of rain any minute. We fueled with a hearty breakfast and then asked for a recommendation for a short trip.
We drove to Hetch Hetchy Valley in the northwest corner of Yosemite. In 1938 the Hetch Hetchy Dam was finished, and part of the valley flooded. Today, the reservoir supplies water and hydroelectric power to the San Francisco Bay area. The water in the reservoir is collected from snowmelt and precipitation and needs no filtration.
I have one more post ready, a recap of our stay in Mountain View. See you then! 😉