USA, California: 4 amazing National Parks

May 26 – June 10, 2015.

After Las Vegas, our next destination was Death Valley National Park famous for being the hottest place on Earth. On July 10, 1913 a reading of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56 Celsius) was recorded. We made it to the small town of Beatty, NV located a few miles from the park’s entrance. We stayed there a couple of days to regroup, do some laundry, update our blog and get some supplies for camping. We had a fun dinner in an old style saloon (Sourdough Saloon).

Death Valley National Park

On May 26, 2015 we entered California and Death Valley National Park, we were taken back by its scenery, a land of extremes located below sea level and with a yearly average rainfall less than 2 inches. Despite its morbid name, we saw beautiful sand dunes, rugged canyons and snow caped mountains. We had planed on camping there a couple of nights but when the mercury reached 99 degrees and there was no shade around the camp sites, we just continued on.

Death Valley National Park the driest and lowest spot in North America, and hottest in the world

Death Valley National Park, the driest and lowest spot in North America, and hottest in the world.

Endless road!

Death Valley, endless road!

With no water in site, 99 degrees is just a little to hot for comfortable tent camping!

With no shade or water in site, 99 degrees is just a little to hot for comfortable tent camping!

Beatiful white sand dunes along the way

Death Valley, beatiful white sand dunes along the way.

When we exited the park we were greeted by California's Sierra Nevada mountain range

When we exited Death Valley, we were greeted by California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range.

We traveled North on Route 395 and stopped for the night in Mammoth Lakes, a beautiful resort town in the mountains, well known for its skiing and other outdoor activities. The next morning we drove to Yosemite National Park. From the moment we crossed the gate, we were mesmerized by the scenery. We were lucky to find a campground in the park so we stayed for 5 nights. During the day we hiked beautiful trails and visited the sites, at night we hung out, cooked great dinners and made camp fire at our campground (Crane Flat) where we paid only $13 per day (50% off with the NPS Senior Pass).

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is visited by over 4 million people each year and covers an area of 747,956 acres. This year will mark its 125 year anniversary as a protected park. Iconic landmarks such as the Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Cathedral Range are known throughout the world. We took some amazing photos but the beauty of such a large scale landscape is hard to capture. Seing and exploring Yosemite in person is an unforgettable experience.

Yosemite is visited by 4 million people a year

Yosemite is visited by 4 million people each year.

The scenery is just breathtaking

Yosemite, the scenery is just breathtaking, beauty on a grand scale.

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Yosemite,  Joe admiring nature.

View of the Half Dome

Yosemite, view of the Half Dome.

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Yosemite, photo taken from Glacier Point.

From Yosemite, we overnighted in Fresno, CA to restock before heading to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, The Land of Giants in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia covers an area of 202,430 acres and is adjacent to Kings Canyon so most people visit both parks while in the area. Sequoia is famous for its giant Sequoia trees and you can find 7 campgrounds and a lodge.

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Sequoia, entering the Giant Forest.

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Sequoia, Ranger Lauren.

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Sequoia, Lodgepole campground. View from our tent.

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Sequoia, Lodgepole campground. Best camp site so far!

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Sequoia, we love our Kermit chairs and our cocktail table from Arizona outdoor furniture

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Sequoia, the first morning we had a visitor at our camp site while we were having our coffee!

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Sequoia, we must have seen at least 15 bears during our 5 day stay.

The giant Sequoias are the largest single trees n the world and largest living thing by volume. They can live up to 3000 years!

The giant Sequoias are the largest single trees in the world and largest living thing by volume. They can live up to 3000 years!

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Sequoia, amazing trail in Crescent Meadow!

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Sequoia, General Sherman Sequoia Tree is the largest in the world. 103 feet of circumference on the ground!

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Sequoia, I think Joe is in love!

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Sequoia, another black bear, that we saw while walking in Crescent Meadow.

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Sequoia, great picture of Joe at sunset on Moro Rock. Elevation 6,725 feet.

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Sequoia, sunset from Moro Rock. We climbed the 400 step stairway to get to the top.

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Sequoia, we never got tired of seeing these amazing trees

Kings Canyon National Park

After 5 nights in Sequoia we headed for Kings Canyon where we spent another 2 nights of camping. Kings Canyon covers an area of 461,901 acres. The drive down the deep valley was spectacular, so many photo opportunities, we were stopping at every turn. Like all National Parks the Rangers of Kings Canyon offer different programs like Create Art in the Parks and the Junior Ranger Program for kids.

Kings Canyon, Park entrance.

Kings Canyon, Park entrance.

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Kings Canyon, an other great campground, Sheep Creek in the Cedar Grove area. 9$/day with the NPS Senior pass.

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Kings Canyon, Kings River.

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Kings Canyon, Zumwalt Meadow trail.

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Kings Canyon, Zumwalt Meadow

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Kings Canyon

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Kings Canyon, our truck is the best, the Jake Break is great in these high elevation parks.

Next Sacramento, Grass Valley, Reno, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco… Stay tuned!

12 thoughts on “USA, California: 4 amazing National Parks

  1. Chère vous deux , vous êtes vraiment bien branchés , vous nous faite vivre de beaux moments à travers vos talents de photographe! Bonne continuation…… nous avons rendu visite à André à sa nouvelle résidence et ton père était de passage pour le week-end ,belle rencontre!
    A bientôt,
    Pierrette et Oscar

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    1. Merci pour vos commentaires et surtout de nous lire. Nous sommes présentement au Lac Tahoe et c’est tellement beau, la semaine prochaine San Francisco. Nous attendons notre camper avec beaucoup d’anticipation. Bisous. Josée et Joe

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  2. Amazing journey and wonderful pictures. I love your narratives as well. One question. Who takes your photos when both of you are in the shot?

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  3. Quel bel aventure! C’est toute beauté. C’est le fun que vous partagez avec nous. Assurez-vous de pas devenir un repas pour ces ours, lol!! Je vous embrasse et j’ai hâte au prochain posting. Tourlou for now

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    1. Salut Andrée, merci de suivre notre aventure, on apprécie recevoir les commentaires de nos amis, au moins on sait que quelqu’un nous lit. Oui les ours étaient très près, c’était un peu stressant. Tourlou! Josée et Joe

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  4. I am so glad you are sharing your trip and pictures with us. It gives us a chance to admire those fantastic places you are visiting, to envy you a little and be very happy for you two. Take care and keep the comments and pictures coming.

    Denise and Don

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  5. Magnifiques photos! Cela nous donne envie de partir en voyage….Merci de partager!!!
    Je pense souvent à vous lorsque je me promène sur le chemin Belcourt…
    Vous nous inspirez!

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    1. Hi Cat! I am so happy to see that you are following our journey. You have plenty of time to roam, if that is what you want to do. In the mean time enjoy your house, I am sure you and Liz will make it very cozy. Bisous. Josée

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