As I entered the park, memories came flooding back, of the time I worked for the CA. Dept. of Forestry, first a part of a conservation crew - making fuel breaks and then as a firefighter. The smells of dry earth, dry grass, pines, manzanita, madrone.....even a whiff of a campfire from one of the campgrounds outside the park, mixed into the moisture less air.
Traveled the "Generals Highway" through the park. For the first half, the road was packed. I'm so thankful for my sense of smell because I couldn't take my eyes off the road. People were crazy --- I'd go around a corner and there would be a car backing up. Had to maneuver to the side so the person in back of me wouldn't hit me. That lasted until the Giant Forest. After, General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on earth, the traffic virtually disappeared. Absolutely perfect riding conditions, high 60's, graceful road, surrounded by majestic forest. Giant Sequoia's, sugar pines, incense-cedar, white firs, yellow pines. The smells brought back so many memories. Stopped by the side of the road and just listened to the trees talk.
Stormy and I found our rhythm on this section of road. Only an occasional car, mostly cyclists - bi and motor. Into King's Canyon to see the General Grant Tree. This is the 2nd largest tree in the world. The Sequoia grove in which General Grant stands is really impressive.
Again, saw lots of families in these parks. One young American family were just sitting on the ground outside the fence that protects General Sherman. They had sketch pads and watercolors spread out, the kids were painting what they saw.
Talked with a Pakistani father and an American father on a shuttle bus about the difference between boys and girls, the Pakistani had one of each, twins. He let his wife deal with his son...... his quiet daughter was easier. The American father and I both agreed that boys are much easier.
I just remembered a meeting I had with 2 men outside the N Rim of the Grand Canyon. They couldn't believe that I was riding by myself. First man, " Your husband let you do this?" Rather than argue the point of his terminology - let me?! I just said, "Yes, he is very supportive." Second man, " You sure he likes you? I'd like to get rid of my wife, I think I might let her do something like this." Gotta love it.
Sequoia National Forest, another forest that just blew me away. I think that National Forests have been the biggest discovery for me on this trip. I just didn't get it. Believe me, I get it now....... What a resource!!
As my elevation dropped, the temp. climbed. Dropping into Squaw Valley I was back in high 90's again. Really not too bad, just quite a noticeable difference. Where 180 W turns into a divided highway --- I saw a big green sign........ Thompson Ave.