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  • Writer's pictureSandra

Kalifornien - Part 2 (Yosemite & Co.)

After a short trip through the westernmost corner of Nevada, we were back in California on Tuesday, August 9th, 2022. A barren and yet extremely fascinating landscape welcomed us. On our way we passed Mono Lake Tufa.

A national nature reserve, the heart of which - the lake - could be seen from far away. Beautiful and peaceful is how I would describe this place. I wanted to try to capture the atmosphere with my small unmanned flying object…

P.S. Sound on 🔊🎶

After a peaceful night at the lake, we reached the nearby gates of Yosemite National Park, in California's Sierra Nevada, shortly after 9 a.m. the next morning.

Since we plan our travel very spontaneously, we had not applied for the required permit, which is usually issued weeks in advance, in good time. With more luck than reason and a call (2 days before) to the hotline, a permit became available just at the moment of our call. So this morning we were allowed to pass the Tioga Pass Entrance and start the day in the park with a short walk to Tenaya Lake.

Two forest dwellers watched us on our way to the crystal clear lake.

The perfect place to enjoy my coffee and of course the view.

At Olmsted Point (altitude of approx. 2,500 m) we met another bunch of curious park residents.

There was also a great view of the Tenaya Valley, Half Dome (2,693 m high granite mountain) and the breathtaking surroundings.

In Yosemite Valley we stopped by Horsetail Fall,

flowing over the east rim of El Capitano.

Then we went to the Giant Sequoias via Wawona Road. Unfortunately, the Mariposa Grove, where the sequoias can be found, can only be reached by shuttle bus. Thanks to the ramp available in the shuttle, this was actually quite uncomplicated. The walk from the bus to the Sequoias was described as short and wheelchair accessible, so I figured the active wheelchair would be a good choice. Unfortunately, we were not aware that the bus only stops at one stop, namely the one in the immediate vicinity of the "Fallen Monarch".

So, without further ado, Lennox's leash was converted into a tow rope in order to join forces to tackle the 1.2 km uphill to the "Grizzly Giant Loop Trail". Necessity is the mother of invention!

One Grizzly Giant later

the far simpler slalom descent was on the agenda, during which the hands developed more than just a pleasant warmth from constantly slowing down. 🔥

It was now late in the evening and, like us, many others wanted to take the shuttle back to their cars. Incomprehensibly, only one shuttle bus drove in the evening hours, so we had to wait more than 1.5 hours until we were finally on our way back and an eventful one came to an end.

On Thursday, August 11th, 2022 we reached the Big Stump Entrance to Kings Canyon National Park in the afternoon.

The almost endless descent into the canyon was a real challenge for a 10 t vehicle, but the view offered enough distraction to at least not keep thinking about the hopefully not failing brakes.

Once in the canyon, we squeezed the Skoolie into what wasn't a parking space while a man eyed our efforts to stay out of the way. When I got out, I was prepared for a lecture, but instead he wanted to know what "mission adventure" was all about. Scott listened intently and told me afterwords that he is the creator of a podcast called Inspire Campfire and introduces extraordinary adventures. He asked me if I could consider telling him my full story in one of his episodes. A podcast in English? I love challenges! So I said yes. 😬 The recording is still pending, but is planned for October. 🎙🎧 so stay tuned! After exchanging our contact details, we marched towards meadow view.

Unfortunately, the path ended early again, because the bridge to the valley was destroyed and the detour over the rocks would have claimed my climbing skills too much. Alternatively, we went on a short paved path to the small but powerful Roaring Falls.

After we had grazed everything in the canyon (dead-end) we went back on the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (this time uphill). We used the many outlooks to take pictures and videos, but also to let the cars that trotted along behind us at a snail's pace pass.

Kings Canyon, while different from what I imagined, was undeniably majestic.

We spent the evening visiting the "General Grant Tree" - the second largest living tree on earth - and its cronies in the Grant Grove.

The following morning we drove on the Generals Highway

to the remaining giants in Sequoia National Park.

In the best weather we completed the magical Big Trees Trail.

The tree spectacle was only topped by the "General Sherman Tree", the largest tree in the world in terms of volume. 🌎 Stately 83 m high and 11 m diameter at the base. Not quite un-imposing in my opinion. 🤓

Sound on 🔊🎶

After 2 days of gigantic dimensions, we made our way towards the desert, while the sunset accompanied us part of the way.

The Boeing NB-52B Mothership 008, so beautifully draped in front of Edwards Air Force Base, should be our last Californian highlight, even if we just happened to be passing by here.

The aircraft is famous and known to have flown the X-15 aerospace research vehicle on 106 of the 199 flights of the X-15 program. But I'm sure you knew that! 😉

Not far from the airbase, we set up camp in the middle of nowhere on a road somewhere in California.

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