Our fifth wheel and the truck

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There's a bear in there!!!

G’day y’all. Welcome to the ongoing (mis)adventures of the real Gray Nomads.

This has been a relatively uneventful week as we traveled on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday. I am just joking! We did travel on those days but the events on the other days more than made up for it!!!

We are staying in the Yosemite Westlake RV Park about 25 miles from Yosemite and while the entrance to the park is a bit interesting and the drive here was a bit (read very) hair raising, it was a gorgeous place to stay. Beautiful trees in their fall colours and just so quiet. It probably helps that we are the only ‘non-permanent’ RV. It will provide us with an easy drive to Yosemite on Monday. One downside of this park is no TV and no WiFi. Is that a downside??? Nah!!!

What an amazing place Yosemite is! We had a lovely time. The sheer faces of the granite cliffs, the beautiful waterfalls and bubbling creeks. The gorgeous walks among the trees were just stunning and because it is the end of the summer there weren’t too many other folks. Of course I had forgotten (??) to pack some lunch so we stopped at the store and bought some crackers, cheese, dip and sliced meat and then sat out on the deck on our own enjoying the squirrels and the peace and quiet.

A bit later we were driving along a road and there was a little mule deer on the side of the road absolutely oblivious to the cars driving by. I asked Norm to stop and of course that took a while and I was sure that by the time I got back the deer would be gone but I got lucky as it was still there. As we approached it, it wasn’t the slightest bit phased by our presence and just kept eating. I wanted it to lift it’s head so Norm coughed and it looked up, looked at us and went back to eating. It must have been there for half an hour as cars stopped to take photos and people wandered by. It was just the best.

As there was no WiFi connection we drove into the bustling (NOT) town of Greeley Hill. The park manager told us that we could use the computers at the town library or if we wanted to we could park outside the real estate office and piggy back onto his WiFi. We went to the library! It was so busy - all four computers were in use and we had to wait till someone else finished as long as they finished before 3.00pm because that is when the library closed. We made it at about 2.40pm!!! And still had to be off by 2.55pm so the computers could be shut down!!!!!

Wednesday saw us on the road again heading to Tulare, still in California, which will be our base for visiting the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.

On arrival we met another couple, Robert and Mary, who pulled in right behind us and we got to chatting later. We arranged to have drinks and nibbles the next evening when we got back from the Parks. Again the best laid plans of mice and men!!!

Greg Wright told me that after seeing the giant Sequoia’s, the Redwoods would look like toothpicks. And oh boy, was he wright!!!!! To try to describe the immensity of these giants is virtually impossible. To really understand you have to stand at the base of one and look up. It is probably better if you could lie on the ground and look up. Saying they are huge or ginormous or immense is so lame.

We arrived in the park to discover that there were road works going on and that the road through the forest was only open for a short time to let the cars through every two hours. To fill the time we stopped at Hospital Rock. Now I can’t tell you why it is called Hospital Rock and it bears (remember that word - bear) no resemblance to a hospital although it is a rock. Two interesting features are the American Indian paintings on the face of the rock and the small cave underneath the rock. I was madly taking photos of the drawings when Norm called me to have a look in the cave. Lying in there and certainly not moving for anyone was a male deer with antlers. Just like the mule deer, this one wasn’t interested in us at all and I did learn later that some other people who were staying in the same RV park had also been taking photos of it about two hours before us!

Eventually we got past the road works and stopped at the visitor centre for a sticky beak and then moved on to a trail at the Big Trees Meadow. Wandering along the walk path and reading the information on the signs we were having a lovely time until some bloke yelled out, “There’s a bear in front of you!” Norm immediately turned on his heel and started retreating but I wasn’t quite so interested in turning around. The thought of getting a photo of a wild bear was sort of appealing. Another couple behind us joined us and we started edging our way forward trying to spot this bear. Finally we saw the black back of the bear foraging in the meadow just in front of us.

Norm thought it looked fairly small and was keeping a sharp eye out in case it was a cub and the mother bear was close by. As we got closer we decided it wasn’t really that small so mum probably wasn’t around so we kept on following it for about 15 minutes as it moved its way through the meadow and on to the path and then off into the forest again. It was so exciting and I couldn’t get enough pictures. Most of them were pretty ordinary but a few were okay. So that was one of the most exciting things to happen to us so far.

We spent the rest of the day wandering among the Sequoias. At one point we walked down to General Sherman tree. The sign said the walk was only about 0.6 miles so we decided to have a wander down and have a look. The only concern was that while the walk was short it was also downhill all the way and of course, when you walk downhill to get somewhere, on the way back it is all uphill. In actual fact the walk dropped 212 feet in the space of the 0.6 miles. Norm did offer to get the car and pick me up from the disabled parking area which was downhill from the tree but I declined and struggled back up the hill. Of course the altitude was around 7,000 feet which also increases the degree of difficulty. I made it!!!

Because of the road works we decided that our best bet, instead of going back and having to wait for the road to be opened at 6.00pm, we would continue through the Sequoia NP and then through Kings Canyon NP and then head back via another highway. So much for drinks and nibbles with Robert and Mary, we didn’t get back till about 6.30pm. Postponed for another day.

Kings Canyon is a really interesting place although you can’t get to most of it. It is the second largest ‘no road’ wilderness area in the US. There are places in there that no one can access.

Saturday we leave California for Pahrump in Nevada. Although we will be back in California on Sunday because we are going to be visiting Death Valley. It is just easier to get into the Valley from the Nevada side.

Norm wasn’t that fussed about visiting the valley but I really want to see it so guess what? We are going to drive into Death Valley.

I think that we will stay in Pahrump for a week or so just so our mail can catch up with us and besides, we are going to stay at an Escapees Park and may be able to catch up with some of the people we met on the ’Boot Camp’ in Indiana earlier. Even if we can’t it will be nice to stay in one place for more than a day or two and Escapees are such lovely people.

Next installment - Death Valley! so be sure to come and find out all about it. Can’t wait!

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you find it interesting and once again I urge you to leave a quick comment. I would love to hear from you even if it is just to tell me that I talk too much!! You wouldn’t be the first and I doubt that you would be the last. LOL

To all our family and friends, wherever you may be, take care and stay healthy and happy. We think of you often but we are not coming home yet!!!


  1. I don't think you talk too much at all. Love your wonderful descriptions and pictures.
    Be sure to see the kilns in Death Valley, Scotty's Castle and the area where the rocks move across the floor of the valley and leave trails. When you drive up to the kilns, drive S-L-O-W-L-Y cause the rocks are sharp and we saw a number of people with flat tires who had gone zooming by us. Have fun.

  2. Gday, i am nearly caught up with your blog and love reading it. Have now gone to google earth to trace your steps and have discovered that i have a Secret Santa that lives in Pahrump. Looking at your travels is locating some of those friends from the Quilting Board. (QB) Happy travels :)

  3. Bugga, i have caught up!!! I was looking for a new post, but you haven't put anything yet. Bugga. Can't wait for your next write up. :) happy travels :)