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My solo jaunt through Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Death Valley Nat. Parks

My solo jaunt through Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Death Valley Nat. Parks

Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 02:02 PM
  #21  
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Day 6 - Final Day

The sun rose at 5:29 a.m. and I was there to greet it! It is certainly a unique experience for me to greet the sunrise, especially on vacation. The temp was already in the 80's.

I got cleaned up and packed up while waiting for the dining room to open at 7. Let the carbfest begin! I gave myself license to gorge on all sorts of bad things, since this was my last day of vacation. I especially enjoyed watching 3 20-something German boys chow down on Frosted Flakes. They're GREAT!

Once again, I covered a lot of ground. Behind Stovepipe Wells is the Mosaic Canyon, with its walls of slick, polished marble from years of rainfall. It made for a nice morning hike. From there, I drove to the nearby Mesquite Flat sand dunes. This was so cool, because, being there early in the morning, I got to see and photograph lots of fresh animal tracks. I really enjoyed that, though I am still shaking sand out of my tennis shoes!

Next stop: Badwater and the Badwater Basin. At 282 feet below sea level, it is touted as the lowest elevation in the U.S. I was expecting it to be the hottest location in the desert, but it wasn't, at least that day.

This area is covered with salt. Miles of white salt flats. It looks like snow, and it is an odd sensation to see in that sort of heat. Anyway, it was completely overrun with literally busloads of tourists, most from foreign countries. I enjoyed photographing the woman from Hong Kong who posed by flinging her arms in the air for each picture her husband took! She had chutzpah!

Onward to Artist's Drive, a 9 mile, paved loop which takes you through multi-hued volcanic hills. The highlight is an area known as Artist's Palette, comprised of surprisingly bright colored rock. This was one of my favorite spots in Death Valley, and though my camera was refusing to cooperate, the pictures remain in my head.

I drove through Golden Canyon on my way to have lunch at Furnace Creek. Furnace Creek is a resort village with a hotel they call the ranch (the upscale inn is close by, but closed in the summer months),many restaurants, bars, shops, tennis courts, pool, etc. It was a ZOO, and in the 100's to boot. If I was travelling with kids, I'd stay here. Otherwise, I prefer the quieter, more remote options. A fruit and cheese plate with iced tea, and I was out of there.

3 more stops: The Harmony Borax Works, really well preserved from the 1800's, and Zabriskie and Dante's Points, with their trails and differing vantage points of this vast desert. Lots of wildflowers in each of these areas, both of which were pleasant in the mid 80's.

I love the solitude of solo travel, but it was a long, lonely drive home. For those of you interested, please check out my photos on FB. And thanks for reading!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 02:03 PM
  #22  
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Thanks, Dayenu, for your kind words.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 09:29 PM
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Love your report, so glad you had a wonderful time. I don't know many people who would do your trip solo like you did, hurrah.
Now you have made me want to go back to Death Valley! Thanks.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 09:42 PM
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Many thanks, SeaUrchin.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 04:07 AM
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Iregeo, Loved the report, thanks. Did you camp at Stovepipe Wells or stay in the motel? I've often wondered if this would be a good place to stay. Was it quiet at night and was it dark enough to see lots of stars or were there security lights on all night?
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 08:21 AM
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emalloy, I stayed in the motel. It was quiet, clean and comfortable. They do have a pool on the east side of the property which is open till 10, but my room was on the very end of the west side. Some of the rooms have t.v.'s and refrigerators. Mine did not.

As for darkness, they make a point of telling you that in their effort to optimize the ability to see stars, they light the property only enough so that you can see where you're going. The lights in front of each room are yellow.

To be honest, I tried, but was too exhausted to stay awake to watch the stars. During the short time I was out there, what I found more intrusive than the lighting was the noise from a hundred A/C units! But, in that heat, it was a necessity.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 09:28 AM
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Thanks, that sounds like my kind of place.
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Old Sep 18th, 2011, 04:38 PM
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we are going to have at least 3 nights in Sequoia in early Oct. I've found your trip report and pictures to be very informative. I already know the last 2 nights we will stay at the Wuksachi Lodge. For the first night i'm debating on the Stony Creek Lodge, which is the last night they are open for the season. Or driving out the Kings Canyon Scenic By way and spend the first night at Cedar Grove? any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated. we will be coming from 5 days in Yosemite.

thanks,

joyce
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Old Sep 18th, 2011, 09:52 PM
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Hi Joyce. If it were me, I'd definitely stay the first night at Cedar Grove. Try to get a room with a patio by the river. It is gorgeous out that way, and very different from the Stony Creek or Wuksachi areas. Stony Creek and Wuksachi are only 20 minutes apart, so you will presumably be covering that area during your last 2 days.

Try to at least drive by Hume Lake, if not spend a bit of time hiking around the lake. You won't be sorry; it's beautiful!
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 05:14 AM
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I am so glad this thread got topped. I missed it first time around and this is an area I have long wanted to explore. Your report is very comprehensive and helpful. thank you for posting!
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 03:01 PM
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I missed this report as well - really enjoyed reading it! I think we missed each other in Oakhurst by just a few days.

Lee Ann
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Thanks for a great report. My DH and myself are going to Sequoia and Kings Canyon in June. If we want to see Sequoia and Kings Canyon, then Stony Creek Lodge is the place to stay. How much time should we allow to see the two places?

Melissa
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 05:09 PM
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I thought the General Sherman was considered the largest tree in the world. Meaning the biggest in Mass or Volume. Not the tallest and not the widest.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 10:32 PM
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Hey Melissa. I covered a lot of ground in a short time, but would have preferred a slower pace. I would say 3 or 4 days to do these parks justice.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 11:19 PM
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spirobulldog, guess I mixed up the General Grant tree with the General Sherman tree. The former is the 3rd largest, I think. They all look the same to me.
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Old Apr 21st, 2012, 08:25 AM
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If I could get lodging anywhere, what is the most central place to stay to see both parks?

Melissa
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 08:20 PM
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Not positive, but I think Stony Creek is most central to seeing both parks.
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