Unfortunately a huge roadblock that goes by the name of the Sierra Nevadas made the drive from Death Valley to Sequoia National Park rather more lengthy than maps would have us believe. Nevertheless we arrive din the late afternoon with sufficient time to settle into our campsite at Potwisha, 6.5km from the park entrance in the foothills of the park. The campsite was pretty whimsical, the early spring wildflowers in bloom and a herd of Mule Deer exploring the area to keep us company.
We decided we had just enough light to take a short walk, we crossed the Kaweah River (across the Highway from Potwisha) and walked along the aqueduct for a few miles.
As the sun started to set, the path was swarming with a bunch of California Newts, which startled me as I went to pick up the first one I saw, its bright coloration leading me to believe it was a toy. And luckily I realised just in time, as the skin of the California native produces a pretty potent neurotoxin, 100x more toxic than cyanide!
The next morning we started by traversing the switchbacks of the Generals Highway through sequoia groves and montane forest to check out the Giant Sequoia Museum, to explore the Sequoia groves up the mountain, and to locate the notable ‘General Sherman Tree’ (the world’s largest living tree by mass). We finished with a quick hike on the snow covered Big Trees Trail, which winds around a meadow on very accessible paths.
Our jackets were quickly stripped off once we descended the mountains back to the foothills area, where the sun was in pretty decent force and some humidity was starting to develop. We were to take on the Marble Falls Trail, which sets off from Potwisha. The trail climbs 3.9 miles (6km or 12km return), starting with a flat gravel trail alongside the river, alongside an aqueduct then through chaparral to a waterfall.
This was probably the most sweat inducing weather we encountered in our USA trip, so the walk turned out to be more challenging than we expected. However it was entirely worth it, as we pretty much had the track to ourselves. The last mile of so is mostly downhill and leads to the final destination of Marble Falls, which was quite impressive. We spent some time taking pictures and clambering around the rocks.
The highlight of the walk however was definitely catching glimpses of a Hummingbird, the first either of us had seen!
We made it out of the park in time to grab some ice cream sandwiches, then on towards our next destination in Yosemite (post to come of course!)