Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sequoia National Park

Our journey to:
Sequoia National Park
February 2nd-4th

On our way from 29 Palms to our campsite at Horse Creek, we found a cool educational stop at the California Welcome Center in Tulare.  The welcome center is on the grounds where the World Ag Expo is held.  Central California is all agriculture...crops and orchards are everywhere.  I LOVE all the farm lands here!  Next door to the welcome center is a hands-on agricultural museum...

I like the saying on the steps:  If you eat food and wear clothes, you are involved in agriculture.
We saw old tractors, combines, and crop dusters.

Old milking equipment

After we went through the museum section... we explored the hands-on learning centers:

How irrigation works...

This was a neat room...the tractors that the kids are sitting on have A, B, C answer buttons.
As they were watching the informational video, it asked questions that the kids had to choose the correct answer to.
Very fun and interactive.

Another fun exhibit:  you put your finger in the device to feel what the cow feels as she's being milked!

That bale of cotton weighs 500 pounds.

Faith driving the cotton harvester.

Measuring and weighing the harvest in the "store".

We really enjoyed this AG learning center and could've spent much more time there, but we needed to get back on the road so that we could "park before dark" in our new campsite at Horse Creek, outside of Lemon Cove, CA.

This was our first stop at a US Army Corps of Engineer campground.
It was beautiful, but facilities are primitive.

Horse Creek Campground, Lake Kaweah Recreation Area
The campsites are in the foreground.  We once again have the place to ourselves, except for the work campers.

Site #4...on the top of a slope...
Jon had to put the truck in 4-wheel drive to back into the site.
It was very challenging and frightening!
The view was so worth the white knuckles...

The next day we headed into Sequoia National Park:

Starting on the next junior ranger studies.

Faith is holding the shedding of one very long snake!

A gorgeous drive in.  We would love to hike to this river...

This was the original road in the park, under Tunnel Rock.
Right above Faith's head you can see where vehicles have scraped their roofs :)

We're driving to the top...

Entering Giant Forest:  and the snow line.

A man of giant faith...

The sequoias are massive and old.

The one and only General Sherman Sequoia in the back between Faith and Jon.
You have to take the picture from way back here to get the full height in the shot.

And the General Sherman up close...I could barely get its bottom branches in the photo!
This is the world's largest tree!

The famous Congress Trail that takes you to more of the wonderful giants:
Included on this trail are the House and Senate Groups, the President, Chief Sequoyah, General Lee and McKinley Trees.

Gorgeous trail...the kids LOVED snow hiking!


We had fun hiking on the Congress Trail, but it was treacherous.
We decided to turn back before we reached the House and Senate Groups,
as we did not have the proper footwear and our feet kept sliding out from under us. 

A beautiful drive through the sequoias.

The kids loved the snow, of course.  Unfortunately, most of it was pretty frozen and old snow.  Not good snowball making snow.  :(

We chose to hike another snowy trail, but this one was flat and shorter.  Plus, it had interactive stops along the trail that taught us about the specifics of these trees and this meadow area.
The Giant Forest Museum was closed :(

The kids trying to reach around the base of this massive sequoia.

Fallen sequoia

Big Trees Trail and Round Meadow

View as we drove back down the mountain.

Junior Rangers, once again.  This program was quite thorough and difficult.
I'm so proud of their dedication to their studies!

We were going to head into Kings Canyon National Park the next day, but since it is the middle of winter...most of it is closed!  :(  The rangers said that we would not be able to see the heart of the canyon.  After learning this, we decided to change our travel plans.  We didn't have to be in Auburn, CA until Feb. 9th, but we decided to surprise my family and arrive a few days early!  

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