Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What the #%£¥€ happened overnight? October 28

We woke up early for a big day, planning on going wire to wire to see the entire remainder of two parks, or at least as much as possible. We looked out the window and it was SNOWING ! There was a dusting on the ground, and the parking lot was just starting to get covered. We went back to the General Sherman Tree area, and did our thing there, but we did not hike the one trail I wanted to hike, because the snow was falling at an amazing rate, and we weren't exactly prepared, gear wise. We layered up the best we could, and the snow continued to fall. Before we knew it, there were four wheel drive and chain restrictions on all the roads. We were told that the fastest way down to below 5000 ft (snow level), was the way we came into the park. I really didn't want to do that, so after much gnashing of teeth and bouncing back and forth, I decided we could go the way I wanted to, up in elevation and into the storm. We had twenty five miles to drive, and in the hour or so it took us to do it in four wheel drive, the snow accumulation grew to about five inches on the road. We saw very few other vehicles, but it was peaceful and beautiful, when it wasn't knuckle whitening. Pam held up pretty well, and enjoyed the ride I think. When we finally arrived at the Grant Grove Visitors Center, we were happy to find it open. As soon as we got off the road, they went to a chains only mode, but the new road we were going to be on was being plowed. We decided that since we survived the trip, which some people didn't (see pictures), we were going to get out and play in the snow. We walked the half mile trail to the General Grant Tree, which is the third largest tree in the world. There were several other things to see there, so we tramped through the five inch snow in our tennis shoes, and Pam sang Christmas carols and it was great fun. It was fun for me because I knew I'd be back in the Central Valley and the orange groves in a few hours.
The sixty four mile round trip out Rt 180 to see the Kings River and Kings Canyon National Park was not an option, because they closed the road because the storm was really rocking out there. We headed out of the parks earlier than I thought we would, but that allowed us to get home before dark, which was a good thing. The trip home was shorter than the trip there, because of the loop I had planned, and the snow was gone at 5000 ft, just like they said, but the San Juaquin Valley had rain, which is highly unusual, the temperature was in the sixties, which is really cold there, and we even saw a little rainbow.

Last night we lost power in the lodge for about 2 hours (Mike slept through the whole thing!)  There were high winds in the area, so that might have been the cause.

View from our lodge window - the snow is just starting

And hour later we went to the main lodge to check out and there was a little bit more snow!!!

Main lodge

The Jeep forgot what it was like to be in snow!!!

Gotta clean off the windows!  Remember......this is October 28!

Driving down the road in Sequoia National Park!

The signs were flipped around yesterday, but today, they are now flipped to show the need for 4W or chains!

Looking off the bridge down at a creek - the snow builds up FAST!

Taking pictures of the beautiful snowy trees - guess who was staying in the Jeep taking pictures?!!

Grouping of redwoods

Cars used to drive up on this log for pictures (can you see the snow in the picture?)

The rest of the auto log - the posts have been installed to keep people from driving up now days

The trees and snow were so beautiful that we just kept taking pictures!!

Yeah, it's that big!

Can you find Pam in the picture???

Jeep going into the Tunnel Log

Just thought this was cool

Buttress Tree roots - Jeep gives you a little perspective on the tree size

The snow is getting deeper

And coming down harder

And harder

Had to sit and wait about 30 minutes while this car got pulled back up onto the road!  And then they drove off in the car!  With no 4W or chains!!!  Crazy!

By this time, the snow was about 5 inches deep!

Thought this story was interesting...

Gamlin Cabin

Every December, they have a day when a choir comes to the General Grant and people meet there to sing Christmas carols at the Nation's Christmas Tree!

Down on the ground, looking up

October wonderland!

This poor tree still had leaves!

As we were leaving and working our way down the mountain, we looked down into the valley - notice there is no snow on the trees!  As soon as we got below 5000 feet, the snow stopped!

Mike posing with a gold miner!!!

It takes a video to see the whole General Grant tree in Grants Grove!

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