We stayed at Lemon Cove RV park which is located on 198, about 20 minutes from the Foothills Visitors Center of Sequoia National Park. The RV park was great. We were surrounded by orange groves and mountains.
This is Tulare County which is one of the most productive farming areas int he world, with 89 countries importing oranges, walnuts, grapes, peaches, kiwi’s and more from here.
The park was fairly empty so we set up our hammocks and Chris set up his golf net. The girls rode their bikes around all week on the gravel. Mackenzie had her worst fall in history. She attached her iPhone to front of her bike to listen to music and record her travels so she has record of the fall. Big sis was close by to rescue her.
As we drove from LA to here the haze was horrible. The air was filled with so much smog that I knew this had to be unhealthy. We had just left LA and had seen a slight haze for the first time on this great road trip but this was so much worse. I immediately researched the area’s air quality and this is how it is all the time. There is something called the Fresno Eddy that brings the air from the Pacific Ocean via San Francisco and it settles here in the valley with all the pollutants. We arrived on Saturday and it was so hazy that we didn’t drive into the NP because we wouldn’t have been able to see anything. The next day was better so that’s the day we did our exploring. You can see that even on our clearest day, the haze is still present when we make it to the top of Moro Rock.
I asked the Park Ranger about this on a ranger led hike and he indicated it may be the worst air quality park in our nation. I picked up a brochure in the visitors center about the air quality.
We all started coughing and had congested noses starting the second day we were here. Chris ended up with a sinus infection and the girls and I had a cough the whole week. Two days after leaving and being on the coast our coughs cleared up. It was breathing in that air! I guess if you grow up surrounded by it then your body might acclimate to it and you may not know any difference. I also wonder what it is doing to all these orange trees and grape vines being grown out here.
The National Park is actually two national parks combined: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. We only drove into Sequoia, Kings Canyon would have been about a 2 hour drive and several of the roads are closed during the winter.
The park will be replacing the original sign, should be completed this year.
The Giant Forest is what makes Sequoia NP famous. They have 5 of the largest trees on the planet here. The General Sherman is the largest, by volume, in the world. It really is stunning to see. I did enjoy our first stop on the road after the entrance gate better than the trail to General Sherman because it was a private pull off where we hiked around and had a picnic lunch all on our own. Right after entering the Forest of Giants look for a pull off on the right. We were able to touch and hug the trees. The trail at General Sherman is fenced in to protect the trees from the masses. There was a little snow on the ground; giant sequoia’s grow at an elevation of 5,000-7,000 ft.
We did get to the base of the General Sherman tree in time for the ranger session on the park and the tree’s history, right at 2:00pm. If you plan to visit the park and only have 1 or 2 days, I’d advise calling ahead and finding out what time the ranger sessions are because this is a great way to learn so much information and a chance to ask questions. These are free of course. We learned about the history of this area and how they would log these trees before the NPS service protected it. The ranger showed us that the leather belts and leather trim on the hats they all wear are embossed with the sequoia pine cone symbol. Which by the way, is a much smaller pine cone than you’d imagine.
The General Sherman Tree’s volume is 52,500 cubic feet, a figure calculated by measuring only the trunk of the tree. This means that when large branches fall, it does not affect the official size of the tree. . A branch that fell from the tree in 1978, was six feet wide and was 140 feet long — larger than any tree in the US east of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The General Sherman tree is 274.9 feet tall; it is not the tallest tree in the world — this title is claimed by a coastal redwood called Hyperion in Redwood National Park, also in California. We will see this soon:)
The General Sherman Tree is about 2,500 years old. These giant sequoia trees live so long because their bark is resistance to disease, drought, insects and fire. The bark can get up to 2 feet thick and contain’s tannic acid which gives it it’s color and is the key ingredient to protecting it. Fires actually induce more rapid growth in these trees and if they do become injured, they heal themselves.
It is awe inspiring to be around these great trees. Check out our iMovie on youtube by clicking on the link below.
Super Bowl Sunday we ate pizza in a little town called Three Rivers, while we watched the game.
I took the Jeep in for maintenance- oil change and tires rotated.The Jeep is also having an issue where the ABS, brake and sway bar lights on the dash will just randomly beep and blink on for a second. It will do it while we are driving or stopped. I talked to the service man about the area and the smog and he explained that his wife has really bad asthma and when they go visit her family in Texas she feels so much better. Because I will never see him again, I stated the obvious, ” You should move.” He replied, “Yeah we should work towards that plan.” Then in the same breath he said, “I’ve only ever lived here and the only place I have visited is Texas to see the in laws.” FEAR people… that’s what this is. FEAR of the unknown, winning over good health! I told him about what our family is doing and that you only get one life so you need to make it a healthy happy one. I hope they make some changes before they start a family.
The Jeep Dealership said it was a loose wire and they secured it but two days later it happened again. Maybe all the smog is clouding up the minds of the service men and impeding them from repairing my Jeep properly. I guess I’ll have to find a different dealership along the way.
Lemon Cove Village RV park
Lemon Cove, CA 93244