Over Labor Day Weekend, Shoestring Adventures took a road trip to Sequoia National Park with Sierra Designs! Located in the southern Sierra Nevadas of California, Sequoia National Park is home to the largest trees in the world.
Photos by Triptographer Ryan Tuttle
We came together on Saturday at noon and set up camp. Sierra Designs provided tents and sleeping bags for anyone who needed gear.
After lunch, we set off on a 3.4-mile hike to Tokopah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Sequoia National Park. As soon as the 1,200-foot cascade was in sight, we felt a few scattered rain drops, followed by a clack of thunder. Since afternoon storms are common this time of year, we hurried to take cover among the giant trees.
On our hike back, we picked up trash, filling our handy Trek Cleanly Litter Bags. We also spotted a mama bear and her cubs snacking on some berry bushes across the river. We admired them from afar, adding an extra pep in our step.
Luckily, the storm passed over by the time we returned to camp. For dinner, we enjoyed crispy soyrizo potato tacos with fresh pico de gallo, followed by banana boats around the campfire.
We got an early start on Sunday morning and fueled up with coffee and a breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browns and sliced melon.
We planned to hike 8-miles round trip to Heather Lake, where we looked forward to enjoying a picnic lunch and refreshing swim.
Despite the smoky air from Yosemite wildfires, we climbed steadily toward the Watchtower, a granite pinnacle soaring thousands of feet above the Tokopah Valley floor. Standing near the edge was enough to make my stomach drop. From this magnificent viewpoint, we spotted a tiny Tokopah Falls, the 1,200 foot cascade from the day before.
From the Watchtower, we continued along a short trail carved from a granite cliff. As we approached Heather Lake, there it was again—a few scattered rain drops followed by a clack of thunder.
The afternoon storm had arrived early, dashing our plans to take a refreshing dip in the lake, but the views did not disappoint.
After lunch, we hurried across the exposed granite and past the Watchtower to take cover among the giants. It continued to rain in spurts as we descended.
Back at camp, we crawled into our tents for an afternoon nap, while waiting out the rain.
We took advantage of a break in the storm to start a campfire and prepare dinner—an assortment of sausages and veggie hobo pockets.
After a couple rounds of s’mores, the rain started again. We set the record for fastest dishwashing and scurried back into our tents for an early night. Sleep came quickly following the day’s strenuous hike.
On Monday morning, we got another early start to get ahead of the holiday crowds and summer storms. After coffee and pancakes, we drove to the Giant Forest Museum and climbed the stone steps to Moro Rock.
As the wind tousled our hair, sun beams reached through the clouds. Mount Whitney appeared in the distance like heaven on Earth.
Our final adventure was to visit the General Sherman Tree. Standing at 275 feet tall and over 36 feet in diameter, General Sherman is the world’s largest tree by volume. We got in one last tree hug before heading back to break down camp.
On the way out of the park, we met at The Pizza Factory for one final meal. After saying our goodbyes… until next time. Thunder, bears and all, it was the perfect weekend getaway with great company!
Special thanks to Triptographer Ryan Tuttle and the Shoestring Warriors of Sequoia September 2017: Latarsha, Leon, Tabitha, Heather, Erin, Natalia and Garrett!
This post was created in partnership with Sierra Designs in cooperation with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Thank you for supporting Shoestring Adventures!