Over Labor Day Weekend, Shoestring Adventures went to Sequoia National Park with Robbie Sell of LivingVANcariously.com and 10 awesome campers. This year, we did not let our extra vacation day go to waste!
Sequoia National Park, located in the southern Sierra Nevadas of California, is home to the largest trees in the world, including the Giant Forest and the General Sherman Tree. From above the canopy are the most breath-taking views you can imagine, overlooking the redwood groves and granite cliffs.
On Saturday, we hung out at a swimming hole, enjoying the natural rock slide just steps away from our camp site. The snowmelt offered quick relief from the summer heat.
We hiked up the river to a 100-foot water slide, and a few brave souls slid down.
Even further upstream was a 30-foot bridge. Only Danny and Kyle were brave enough to take the plunge.
After dinner, we returned to the river for a night photography lesson with Robbie.
The following morning, we tried to get an early start. As it turns out, during the summer, the park’s most popular attractions are only accessible by shuttle.
From the Giant Forest Museum, we hopped a ride to Moro Rock. The short, steep hike up 400 steps tested our tolerance for heights and rewarded us with a 360 degree view of the High Sierras, including the Rough Fire still burning in Kings Canyon National Park.
On our return to Giant Forest Museum, the shuttle passed Tunnel Log, a fallen sequoia that visitors can drive though in the off-season.
We planned to take another shuttle to the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world (by volume), currently 275 feet tall, 36.5 feet across and growing, but the line was too long. Robbie went back for a meeting with the General after we parted ways.
A few campers walked the Big Trees Nature Trail from the Giant Forest Museum, an easy 1.4-mile tour of the giants surrounding Round Meadow.
We all met up in the parking lot for sandwiches and power naps.
After lunch, we drove to Lodgepole for a 3.4-mile hike to Tokopah Falls, a 1,200 foot cascading waterfall. By early September, the “cascade” was just a trickle, but the rocks below offered a peaceful retreat from the crowds.
We returned to camp, watching the bright red sunset on the ride home, evidence of the unyielding wildfire.
After dark, we swam in the freezing river and laid on the rocks, gazing at the Milky Way until early morning.
The following day, we voted whether to return to see General Sherman or explore the river downstream on our drive home. The river vote won by a landslide, and we spent our last hour together in the cool water, reminiscing about our weekend together.
Special thanks to Robbie, Jen, Jet, Alysse, Danny, Matt, Kyle, Daniel, Ari, Lorna and Suz for joining Shoestring Adventures in Sequoia. Let’s do it again next year!
Photos 1,2,4,5,6 by Robbie Sell of LivingVANcariously.com.