Southwest Sierras

Kings Canyon and Sequioa National Parks Sept 7- 8, 2010
A mournful wailing broke the silence of the quite of dawn on the first night we were camped in the high mountains that form Kings Canyon. At first we thought it was wolves but the sound was more high pitched – it was most likely coyotes. The calling went on for about 10 minutes echoing against the bare granite peaks that surrounded us. Eary but at the same time strangely beautiful especially since we were camped alone. It was truly the call of the wild and we felt privileged to be in this special place at this time.
Morning temperature was zero – officially freezing, while yesterday we sweltered at 36 degrees! We had plans to say in this area for a few days but a forest fire which has been smouldering in the area for nearly two months has filled the canyons with smoke. This made breathing very difficult and obscured much of the view. We stayed at higher ground and walked to the peak of Big Baldy Mountain at around 2,700m and above the smoky haze. But then a cloudy mist rolled in obscuring the view below. Temperature was below 10 degrees so we drove through Sequioa NP and stopped to have a look at the very big Sequioa trees which only grow in a narrow band along the western Sierra range. A few of the trees have been estimated to be over 3000 years old. Hard to imagine what these trees have witnessed and truly amazing to have survived the march of ‘progress’ that has usually resulted in a denuded landscape. If only they could speak! And just to remind us that we were still in bear country, a black bear was grazing on the hillside just above where we were stopped in traffic due to roadworks within the park.