01 December 2014

Two Weirdos Collecting Firewood {Kings Canyon National Park}

We went for a walk the other day in Kings Canyon National Park. People looked at us and kept muttering, "Take a look at those weirdos! What in the world are they doing?"

Is it really so strange to walk around with your arms and backpack full of wood and then chuck it all into your vehicle?

Hiking boots, firewood, sleeping bags, pillows and boxes of food. Isn't this what everyone carries in the back of their vehicle?
I think some people may have even reported us to the rangers. Which I can understand. We've seen so many people doing disrespectful things in our National Parks, like completely ignoring signs that say, "Stay on the Trails", and then walking off the trails with utter disregard for re-vegetation programs. Or the stupid boy who chases after a mule deer and then tries to feed it leaves while his family looks on approvingly. Or the idiotic teenagers who think there is nothing wrong with picking plants and throwing rocks down the sides of hills. Or people who collect firewood when it is prohibited (as it is in many National Parks).

Fortunately, the rangers encourage you to collect firewood in Kings Canyon National Park. We might have looked like weirdos, but it was all legit. Sure, you can buy firewood, but half the time it doesn't burn well and you spend your time dancing around the fire and trying to keep the smoke from getting in your eyes. Plus, when you collect your own firewood - it's free! 

We had the best fire ever that night. Which was good, because we had the coldest night ever. Unfortunately, we misplaced the electric pump to our air mattress that day, which meant no air mattress that night, which meant a very, very cold night sleeping directly on the very, very cold ground. I think that was the night I decided middle age, sleeping in a tent and cold weather don't really go all that well together. 

Our campsite at Sentinel Campground. Shade is nice when it is the height of summer. Not so nice on a really cold autumn day. Notice the bear box to store your food in? Not only did we have to worry about freezing to death, we also had to worry about bears.
Scott has been taking pictures of all of the signs as we enter National Parks. This is one of the more creative signs we've seen - I like the mountains next to the tree trunks.

If there was a beauty contest for National Park Service signs, Kings Canyon would win.

Kings Canyon is divided into two parts - Giant Grove, a small section chock full of Giant Sequoias (like you find in the neighboring Sequoia National Park), and the larger Kings Canyon & Cedar Grove area. If you're coming from Sequoia National Park (like we were), you start off at Giant Grove to check out the trees.

Honestly, after our time the Redwoods and Sequoia National Parks, I was starting to get a little tired of giant, red trees. But, I guess you can never see too many giant, red trees. Or can you?

Did you know that Giant Sequoias don't generally die of old age, forest fire or disease? They usually die because they fall over. Strange, but true.
Yawn. Let's move on.

Some of the best parts of Kings Canyon National Park are the roads you drive to get there. Like the General's Highway and the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway.

Have you ever noticed that we have more pictures of our vehicle in this blog then of us? The Pathfinder is definitely more photogenic!

We collected our firewood on a walk through the Zumwalt Meadow. You can do a nice little loop trail which takes you around the meadow through boulder lined pathways and boardwalks. 

It just amazes me that people can make pathways through boulders. Seems like some really hard work!
This picture reminds me of that game, Rock, Paper, Scissors, except in this case it is more like Rock, Paper, Trees and the Rock definitely won. By the way, while we were on our walk, we saw "evidence" of bears. If you don't believe me, check out this post.

Rocks rule!
Of course, the whole point of visiting Kings Canyon, is to see the canyon.

The number one cause of death in Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks is drowning. The river is pretty to look at, but dangerous.

And one final shot of Kings Canyon, for no particular reason.

We made the best fire ever at Kings Canyon on 26 October 2014.


  1. I'm living vicariously through your road trip. We do love voyaging but land-yacht voyaging is immensely rewarding as well. I hope you find a pump for that mattress soon!

    1. Thanks Behan! In an ideal world we would have a sailboat that could magically turn into a camper when we wanted to do land excursions. I'm sure James Bond had something like that! We ended up buying pads for our sleeping bags in the end - never did find the pump.

  2. Unsolicited tree trivia - Giant Sequoia root systems aren't very deep or extensive, so they balance themselves by dropping limbs. The Robert E. Lee Tree in Grant Grove did this some years back and almost clobbered some visitors. It stopped dropping limbs once it achieved equilibrium.

    That's a factoid I found interesting. I studied forestry :)

    1. Very interesting! Keep the forestry trivia coming!

  3. Where is the entrance sign located?


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