Monday, June 20, 2016

Island Park RA - 06/20/16 - Sanger, CA

Monday – June 20, 2016
Island Park Recreation Area
Sanger, California

What a difference the elevation has on the temperature. Since June 5th we been camping at elevations of 6500 to 6700 feet and enjoying daytime temperatures in the low to middle 70’s, with nighttime temperatures in the low to middle 40’s.

We are now camping at the Island Park Campground near Sanger, California. The elevation here is 990 feet. The daytime temperatures are in the low 100’s and the nighttime temperatures are in the low to middle 60’s. Low Dew Points in the middle 30’s make sitting outside, in the shade, quite tolerable. This is an Army Corps of Engineering (COE) campground and our campsite has electric, water and sewer hookups, so we run the air conditioner during the day, as needed.

Our stay in Sanger was prompted by a need to pick up a refilled prescription medication for Sharon. Since our campsite has full hookups we decided to pamper ourselves and spend five days here.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Oakhurst, California
Departure Time: 9:45 A.M.
Arrived: Sanger, California
Arrival Time: 2:30 P.M.

Campground: Island Park
Type: Army Corps of Engineer (COE)
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 36.86464
Longitude: W 119.31573
Elevation: 990 Feet
Camping Fee: $30.00 (50% discount with Golden Age Pass)
Campsite: 7
Campsite Hookups: Electric, Water, Sewer
Campground Amenities: Flush Toilets, Pay Showers
Total Campsites: 97

Cellular Service: Verizon – No Service
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – No Service
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 107
Route Traveled:
South on California Highway 41
East on California Highway 180
North on Academy Avenue
East on Belmont Avenue (turns into Trimmer Springs Road)
North on Trimmer Springs Road to Island Park Campground

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Jones Store - 06/16/16 - Beasore Meadows, CA

Thursday – June 16, 2016
The Jones Store
Beasore Meadows Campground
Oakhurst, California

As cattle were driven to the rich mountain grasses in eastern Madera County, Tom Jones saw a need to supply the drovers with staples and supplies. Although cattle are now hauled up in truck and trailer to the lush mountain meadows, many other traditions continue, and are carried on by descendents of the old time cattlemen. Beasore Meadow was named for Tom Beasore, a French Indian, who was Tom Jones uncle.

Tom built his first store in 1936, during the time Beasore Road was built. During one harsh winter, a heavy snowfall buckled the store’s roof. The store was replaced in 1954, with a larger building that included a second floor with a corrugated roof. Inside the store, the original barstools and countertops remain, fashioned out of Cedar trees cut down on the property. This store is still standing and continues to serve visitors to the higher backcountry.

Like a link to the past, a Globe manual gas pump that probably dates back to the 1920’s, is believed to be the last still in operation in California. Customers fill the globe with the number of gallons of gasoline they desire, then press a handle that relies on gravity to fill their vehicle with the gas.

Over time, the store hasn’t changed. It is well known for it’s good food and homemade pies. Store sales are still rung up a 1936 cash register. A double-door beer box dates to 1925. Vintage Servel refrigerators, that holds sodas, are 85 years old. Fourth generation families, as well as newly acquainted friends still patronize the store and campgrounds.

Tom Jones’ daughter, Lois Jones-Black and her husband Vern Black operated the store for many years. They lived upstairs above the store during the summer months. Lois passed away in 2015 and Vern, at age 95, is in poor health and unable to operate the store. His daughter, Dee and two sons, John and Jim, now operate the store.

John and Jim learned their culinary skills from their mother and both love to cook. They serve up the largest, most delicious Tri Tip beef sandwiches and hamburgers; both are served on a toasted french roll. Dee learned her pie-making skills from her mother and makes the most delicious pies.

By the end of September, with the usual start of snow, they start shutting down. By early October, the Blacks head back to the family ranch in Coarsegold, California.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Beasore Meadows - 06/15/16 - Oakhurst, CA

Wednesday – June 15, 2016
Beasore Meadows Campground
Oakhurst, California

We had to vacate our campsite at the Wawona Campground Wednesday morning. The campground is located within Yosemite National Park, but it was only available for two nights.

Our search for another campsite on Tuesday took us through the Sierra National Forest on California Highway 41, south of Yosemite National Park. We inspected two free campsites (dispersed camping) on Jackson Road and other fee-based campsites on Sky Ranch Road. Both roads, at some point, turn into quite rough dirt roads, but navigable with a two-wheel drive vehicle.

After discovering a few camping solutions, we were still not satisfied with our options. We consulted our Allstays Camp and RV smartphone app. We discovered Beasore Meadows, a private camping resort located within the Sierra National Forest at an elevation of 6700 feet. We called the owner and were told to select a campsite near a creek that runs through the property. The campsite fee would be $5.00 per night. Sold! This morning we set up our campsite by the spring-fed creek.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Yosemite National Park
Departure Time: 8:45 A.M.
Arrived: Beasore Meadows
Arrival Time: 10:00 P.M.

Campground: Beasore Meadows
Type: Private Camping Resort
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 37.439803
Longitude: W 119.477479
Elevation: 6795 Feet
Camping Fee: $5.00
Campsite: Creekside
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Water Spigots, One Flush Toilet, Three Outhouses
Total Campsites: 8

Cellular Service: Verizon – No Service
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – No Service
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 38
Route Traveled:
South on California Route 41
East on Mountain Road 274
North on Beasore Road to Campground (14 miles)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Yosemite NP - 06/13/16 - Oakhurst, CA

Monday – June 13, 2016
Yosemite National Park
Oakhurst, California

We spent a wonderful eight days exploring Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. Now it is time to explore our next adventure: Yosemite National Park.

We were fortunate to secure a campsite within Yosemite, for two nights, at the Wawona Campground, with an advance reservation. We loathe the campsite reservation systems: State and Federal. In our frequent travels to campgrounds in State Parks, National Parks, National Forests and Army Corps of Engineering (COE), too many times we have seen reserved sites go unused. We wonder how this can continue to happen. We long for the "good ole days" of "First-Come-First-Served."

Wawona is a scenic campground, located adjacent to the Chilnualna Creek. The sound of the rushing water in the creek provides a soothing atmosphere to relax in. As is typical of some National Park campgrounds, campsites at Wawona are close together and provide little privacy.

On Tuesday we will explore other camping options that afford us more privacy.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Sequoia National Park
Departure Time: 9:35 A.M.
Arrived: Yosemite National Park
Arrival Time: 2:15 P.M.

Campground: Wawona
Type: National Park
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 37.54552
Longitude: W 119.67399
Elevation: 4000 Feet
Camping Fee: $26.00 (50% discount for Golden Age Pass)
Campsite: 10
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Water Spigots, Flush Toilets, Dump
Total Campsites: 93

Cellular Service: Verizon – No Service
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – No Service
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 125
Route Traveled:
East on California Route 180
North on California Route 41 to Yosemite National Park

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Kings Canyon NP - 06/08/16 - Sanger, CA

Wednesday – June 8, 2016
Kings Canyon National Park
General Grant Tree

Kings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, that was established in 1940 and covers 461,901 acres. It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias. The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service jointly as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Kings Canyon National Park consists of two sections. The small, detached General Grant Grove section preserves several groves of giant sequoias, including the General Grant Grove, with the famous General Grant Tree,

and the Redwood Mountain Grove, which is the largest remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world covering 3,100 acres and with 15,800 sequoia trees over 1 foot in diameter at their bases.

The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This section of the park is mostly mixed conifer forest, and is readily accessible via paved highways.

The remainder of Kings Canyon National Park, which comprises over 90% of the total area of the park, is located to the east of General Grant Grove and forms the headwaters of the South and Middle Forks of the Kings River and the South Fork of the San Joaquin River. Both the South and Middle Forks of the Kings Rivers have extensive glacial canyons. One portion of the South Fork canyon, known as the Kings Canyon, gives the entire park its name. Kings Canyon, with a maximum depth of 8,200 feet, is one of the deepest canyons in the United States. The canyon was carved by glaciers out of granite. The Kings Canyon, and its developed area, Cedar Grove, is the only portion of the main part of the park that is accessible by motor vehicle.

To the east of the canyons are the high peaks of the Sierra Crest, which attain an elevation of 14,248 feet at the summit of North Palisade, the highest point in the park. This is classic high Sierra country: barren alpine ridges and glacially scoured lake-filled basins. Usually snow free only from late June until late October, the high country is accessible only via foot and horse trails. The Sierran crest forms the eastern boundary of the park, from Mount Goethe in the north, down to Junction Peak, at the boundary with Sequoia National Park. Several passes cross the crest into the park, including Bishop Pass, Taboose Pass, Sawmill Pass, and Kearsarge Pass. All of these passes are above 11,000 feet elevation.

Hume Lake
This is a man-made lake, originally built in 1908 as a reservoir, to supply water for logging flumes used to float rough-cut sequoia lumber 54 miles from Converse Basin to a mill in the town of Sanger. There's a big Christian camp here, along with a store, cafe and gas station and you can rent boats. It's off the main road going toward Kings Canyon and can be reached by turning off onto either end of the loop road that goes past it.

Knapp's Cabin
This is an attraction in Cedar Grove. George Knapp was a wealthy business man in California who chose a spot to build his cabin to use as a storage shed for all of the summer camping trips he would take during the 1920’s. It is now the oldest building in Cedar Grove. A mile from Knapp’s Cabin is Roaring River Falls, accompanied by a variety of wildflowers in the area and also a variety of birds.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sequoia NF - Azalea Campground - 06/07/16

Tuesday – June 7, 2016
Sequoia National Forest
Azalea Campground
Sanger, California

We discovered a wonderful campground, Azalea, located within the Sequoia National Forest. The campground is within walking distance to the General Grant Sequoia Tree. The campground offers several spacious campsites that provide more privacy than we had at the Sequoia National Park Lodgepole Campground. The Azalea Campground will be our home-base while we continue our exploration of Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Lodgepole Campground
Departure Time: 10:50 A.M.
Arrived: Azalea Campground
Arrival Time: 12:00 P.M.

Campground: Azalea
Type: National Forest
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 36.74052
Longitude: W 118.96749
Elevation: 6500 Feet
Camping Fee: $18.00 (50% discount with Golden Age Pass)
Campsite: 46
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Water Spigots, Flush Toilets, No Dump Station
Total Campsites: 110

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G 3 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 28
Route Traveled:
General Sherman Road
California Route 180
General Grant Road to Azalea Campground

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sequoia NP - Auto Tour 198 - 06/06/16

Monday – June 6, 2016
Sequoia National Park
Auto Tour – California Route 198

The Great Western Divide parallels the Sierran crest. Most of the mountains and canyons in the Sierra Nevada are formed in granitic rocks. These rocks, such as granite, diorite and monzonite, formed when molten rock cooled far beneath the surface of the earth. The molten rock was a by-product of a geologic process known as subduction. Powerful forces in the earth forced the landmass under the waters of the Pacific Ocean beneath and below an advancing North American Continent. Super-hot water driven from the subjecting ocean floor migrated upward and melted rock as it went. This process took place during the Cretaceous Period, 100 million years ago. Granitic rocks have speckled salt and pepper appearance because they contain various minerals including quartz, feldspars and micas.

While geologists debate the details, it is clear that the Sierra Nevada is a young mountain range, probably not more than 10 million years old. Forces in the earth, probably associated with the development of the Great Basin, forced the mountains to grow and climb toward the sky. During the last 10 million years, at least four periods of glacial advance have coated the mountains in a thick mantle of ice. Glaciers form and develop during long periods of cool and wet weather. Glaciers move through the mountains like slow-motion rivers carving deep valleys and craggy peaks. The extensive history of glaciation within the range and the erosion resistant nature of the granitic rocks that make up most of the Sierra Nevada have together created a landscape of hanging valleys, waterfalls, craggy peaks, alpine lakes and glacial canyons.

Our journey exploring California Route 198 was absolutely amazing!

Sherman Tree Trail
This is a 0.8-mile roundtrip paved trail that descends from the parking lot to the base of the General Sherman tree and meanders through a grove of giant sequoia trees.

Tunnel Log
Is a tunnel cut through a fallen giant sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park. The tree, which measured 275 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter, fell across a park road in 1937 due to natural causes. The following year, a crew cut an 8-foot tall, 17-foot wide tunnel through the trunk, making the road passable again.

Crescent Meadow
Is a small, sequoia-rimmed meadow in the Giant Forest region of Sequoia National Park. This meadow marks the western terminus of the High Sierra Trail, which stretches from the meadow across the Great Western Divide to Mount Whitney. Pioneer Hale Tharp homesteaded in this and nearby Log Meadow. Conservationist John Muir visited this meadow many times and praised it highly calling it the "Gem of the Sierras".

Moro Rock
Is a granite dome located in the center of the park, at the head of Moro Creek, between Giant Forest and Crescent Meadow. A 400-step stairway, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is cut into and poured onto the rock, so that visitors can hike to the top. The stairway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The view from the rock encompasses much of the Park, including the Great Western Divide. It has an elevation of 6,725 feet.

The park is home to over 240 known caves, and potentially hundreds more. The caves in the park include California's longest cave at over 20 miles, Lilburn Cave, as well as recently discovered caves that remain strictly off-limits to all but a handful of specialists who visit on rare occasions to study cave geology and biology. The only commercial cave open to park visitors remains Crystal Cave, the park's second-longest at over 3.4 miles and remarkably well-preserved for the volume of visitation it receives annually. It was discovered on April 28, 1918 by Alex Medley and Cassius Webster.[ The cave is a constant 48 °F, and only accessible by guided tour.

Caves are discovered every year in the park; in fact, 17 have been discovered since 2003 alone. The most recently discovered major cave in the park, in September 2006, has been named Ursa Minor. Park caves are valued by scientists and cavers alike for their pristine beauty, variety, and endemic cave life.

Animals that inhabit this park are coyote, badger, black bear, sheep, deer, fox, cougar, eleven species of woodpecker, various species of turtle, three species of owl, opossum, various species of snake, wolverine, roadrunner, beaver, various species of frog, and muskrat.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.