We are very lucky when it comes to National Parks. The holiday season has arrived and all around the Internet every single piece of advice says “book your campsites early, even 3, 4 or 6 months in advance. Following this advice was simply not possible for us, keeping in mind our travelling style. Yet, so far only in Zion we were not able to find a campsite in the park… there was one however 10 minutes walk from the front gate.
In every National Park there are at least few campings. I think I wrote already that some of them can be booked online, while the other are first-come, first-served. But still every Park is different. In some of them you are not allowed to attach anything to the trees. In others it is ok to hang a hammock. Some have only pit toilets and no running water. Others have showers, laundry and a swimming pool. Sometimes the Visitor Center is just a tiny wooden hut and sometimes a huge building with more than 10 rangers working there at any given time. What all of them have in common is cleanliness and facilities for the disabled (every single toilet in the US has toilet paper and a cabin for disabled with all the accessibility features – so yes, it is doable!).
The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park was no different. We found a campsite online but just for one night. Upon arrival it turned out there is a free spot on a nearby camping for all 3 nights. Bingo!
The road from Las Vegas was amazing. Watching the landscape change as we cross the Sierra Nevada mountain range – first bare hills covered only in yellow dry grass, then a tree here and there, the land getting more and more flat and greener. Finally farms and fruit plantations and then mountains again but this time with trees getting taller and taller. With every mile it also gets colder. From 40 degrees in Vegas to only 16 on our campsite. The boys loved it.
The sequoias are majestic and really huge. Other trees look like dwarfs. After weeks on the desert the green landscape and smell of resin leaves us in awe. Our campsite is equipped with a “bear box” – a metal box for everything that smells – food, soap, cosmetics. The bears do not come, but there are plenty of deer and elk, birds, squirrels and the like. Just like in an old Disney movie, when Snow White wakes up on a meadow and there are animals watching her.
Regarding bears, there is a grizzly on the flag of California but similar to the Dodo of Mauritius, it is extinct here. Every single one was killed by the settlers long time ago. The only bears still living here are the Black Bears (which not necessarily must be black).
Kings Canyon is less visited than the “Sequoia” part and I do not know why. Just driving the road from the canyon entrance to the end is breathtaking. And despite my knee hurting more and more we do an almost 8-kilometer trek, ending with a bath in ice-cold stream. Magic!