We thought it would be fun to go camping over Labor Day since we haven't done any kind of a family trip all summer and we were able to find a camping spot to reserve in Sequoia National Park which we have been wanting to check out. So we pulled all our camping stuff together and packed the car Thursday night and then Friday Paul left work a little early so we were able to get away a little after 3:00. Rose had a little bit of a rough start to the trip and fussed quite a bit through the bad traffic getting out of the Bay Area but once we got past Livermore things cleared up a little bit and Rose dozed off and had a good little late afternoon snooze while Clara happily watched "Finding Nemo" (periodically making statements during more intense parts of the movie like "mom & dad - I was so brave!"). When Rose woke up, we had a quick dinner stop to give the girls a break and then it was back on the road where Rose fell asleep for the night, which was perfect as we had quite a bit of winding road to go through to get to our campsite.
Unfortunately, Paul wasn't feeling so great Friday and didn't have a very good night sleeping in the tent (the campsite was in the foothills and was crazy hot and dusty). He wasn't feeling any better on Saturday morning but we decided to just go forward with our plans and see if he improved as the day went on. First we stopped at Lodgepole visitors center to buy dinner tickets for the Wolverton BBQ & dinner show that night, then we did the super easy hike down to see General Sherman.
General Sherman isn't the tallest tree or the widest tree in the world but it is the largest tree by volume in the whole world. It is 2,200 years old and the top is dead so it isn't getting any taller but it is still adding bark so every year it increases its bulk with enough wood to form another good-size tree. There was an interesting board to read near the tree with a bunch of factoids like a 6-foot human looking up at General Sherman is the equivalent of a mouse looking up at a 6-foot human or that if the General Sherman could be filled with water it would hold enough for 9,844 baths which is 1 bath every day for 27 years. And while it isn't the oldest Sequoia tree in existence (there are some sequoias older than 3,000 years), it is the biggest because of its location which gave it prime growing conditions. Isn't that sort of stuff fascinating?
On the trail down to the General Sherman tree there was this area where rocks inlaid in cement showed General Sherman's footprint to give an idea of how big it is at its base. Clara was running circles around me while we were trying to take this photo.
There are a bunch of other huge sequoias in the park along this trail and other nearby trails but we didn't explore far because the most likely sounding trail was 2 miles long and Rose was starting to fuss and Clara was starting to whine so we opted instead to ride the bus to the Giant Trees Museum, which Clara loved (the bus ride - not the museum which was kind of lame).
After another bus ride back to the car it was a little after 11:00 and Rose fell right asleep so we decided to do a nice long drive between the parks. Sequoia and King's Canyon are right next to each other and the views were interesting so we just snacked on chips and apples and other food we had in the car rather than stop back at Lodgepole for lunch. Clara fell asleep partway too, which worked out perfectly. So after an almost 2 hour drive we ended up at Cedar Grove in King's Canyon where we got out and waded in the shallow river for a while. It was a lovely spot and it felt great putting our feet in the water. Even Rose liked it despite how cold the water was.
I waded out with both girls told Clara to do a crazy balancing pose with me on this rock. Rose didn't know what was going on.
Unfortunately, or predictably, Clara sat down in the water (getting a little damp) and then "fell" in (could it have been purposeful?) so she had to strip down while her clothes dried on the branches of a nearby bush.
Rose took another nap on the drive back and then we spent some time exploring around Wuksachi Lodge and doing a teeny-tiny portion of a hike that might have been fun to do if we had the time and the girls were a little more interested and Paul was feeling a little better. As it was, Paul still wasn't feeling great at all so after dinner at the Wolverton BBQ (which was pretty disappointing) we headed back to our campsite to pack up and head for home. We left around 8:00 and got back around 11:30, which worked out well for us because Rose and Clara both fell asleep in the car and transferred to their beds pretty well once we got home. Honestly, I had worried about how Rose would do on this little excursion because she isn't the best sleeper unless she is in her crib and things are silent but she did great and we were so grateful. It gives us a lot of hope that she will do well with our longer Yosemite trip in October.
So, our first foray into camping with both girls wasn't so much of a success. We only did 1 night instead of the 3 we had planned on. But both girls slept great that first night and the real reasons we left were because it was too hot at our campsite to be comfortable, Paul wasn't feeling very well the whole time, and there wasn't as much to see in these parks as there is at other parks we like better. But at least now we can say we've been there, right?