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Entries about family travel

Kings Canyon Between Storms

Enjoying the canyon between the storms

overcast 60 °F

It rained all night with thunder and lightning. The thunder went on and on sometimes not stopping, just continuous. We could only imagine what was going on, on the trail and hoped our kids were not getting soaked.

The rain let up some so we packed up a picnic lunch complete with wine and tablecloths. We thought we’d have a picnic at Zumwalt Meadow.
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After a stop at Grizzly Falls, and then Roaring River Falls, we drove east to the Meadow. Of course, as we carried our picnic to a table it started to rain. As we carried everything back to our truck it started really raining. It was time for a picnic in the RV.
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Late in the afternoon, when the rain had stopped, we headed back to the Meadow for a little hike. It was cool but at least not raining.
As we started to walk we hoped that we’d see the boys if they came out of the mountains.

We took the loop trail around the meadow. It is mostly unpaved and partly thru rocks. Emilio was able to walk the entire way. When a deer headed down the rocky steps toward us, Emilio got a little frightened, but then the deer ran away.
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As we were heading back to our truck we saw Justin’s truck pull into the Meadow parking lot. They’d been rained out. Turns out that everything they had was soaked, there was no way they could spend another night on the trail.

Our intuition was correct, and fortunately, we’d planned for a large dinner and sleeping for all. But we were so happy and relieved to have our kids back.

Posted by Miss Chris 19:07 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature travel national_parks camping rv outdoors family_travel grandkids kings_canyon zumwalt_meadow grizzly_falls roaring_river_falls Comments (0)

Camping in Kings Canyon

Camping in the weather

sunny 75 °F

The reason we came to Kings Canyon was to leave Justin’s truck at the End of the Road. This is literally the end of the road and one can only hike out from here. There is a small Backcountry Ranger Station where people can obtain last minute backpack permits, or find out weather reports, or discuss various trails with a ranger.

At the End of the Road there is a parking lot for people obtaining permits, or for those who walk a short trail to the Kings River. There is another parking lot for those who are actually hiking. We were to leave Justin’s truck in the lot for those actually hiking.
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On the drive up to Kings Canyon, I’d listened to our local Public Radio station. They had a forecast of rain in the mountains and snow at the passes. I was a little concerned for the kids.

A guy in the campsite next to us stopped me and said he’d just been at the village store and saw that the weather was going to close in. I began to get more concerned about kids.
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We decided to get Justin’s truck up to the hikers lot so that, in the event, they had to hike out quickly it would be there. We drove up to the hikers’ parking lot and found it to be packed so we had to leave Justin’s truck at a lower lot.

The Village Store is the only place in the park where there is internet, not fast internet at all, but at least a place where one can send and receive emails, contact with the outside world. The internet is so slow that to get into a blog site, it might take 5 minutes just to load the first page. There is no cell phone service so there are no texts or hot spots.

We went by the Village Store to check emails and correspond with kids and grandkids, answering some questions that they’d had. Then we drove back up to the hikers’ parking lot. A space had opened up right in front so we re-parked Justin’s truck.

It is raining off and on and it appears that there is some weather going on in the direction of the trail the kids are on. But we are snug in our RV. IMG_201606..3555627_HDR.jpg

Posted by Miss Chris 21:29 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature travel national_parks camping rv outdoors family_travel grandkids kings_canyon Comments (0)

A Bit of Luck In Kings Canyon

Settling in at Kings Canyon

sunny 70 °F

We got home by 9pm, picked up some dinner and ate. After doing 3 loads of laundry, dishes, and packing up items we’d forgotten, we got to bed by 1am then up again at 5:30am. We were on the road by 6:30am, an early start to Kings Canyon.

Dale drove our truck and pulled the RV while I drove Justin’s truck. The plan was that I’d drive faster and get a campsite while Dale drove more slowly up the hills. He also had Emilio along, who talked and sang loudly the entire time.

I got into Kings Canyon, looking for the campground we’d camped at last year. When I couldn’t find it I ended up driving to the end of the road. By then it was 11:30 am and I was quite upset, sure that it would be impossible to find a campsite. I drove the other way and realized that the campground we’d stayed at before was closed. Another campground was closed and a 3rd campground was a tent only. That left 1 campground that was packed full of people.

I drove down to the Ranger Station down by the village store and stopped to inquire where we’d be likely to find a campsite and what we should do. I was also very concerned about Dale driving the truck and the possibility that he’d forget and shut down the motor after the long pass.

The Visitor’s Center/Ranger Station is very small, but a bunch of people had just exited so I was glad to find that I was the only one who needed to speak with the ranger. A couple of people were looking at the items for sale. I explained to the ranger that my husband was a bit behind me with our 5th wheel, but we needed to camp and was there anywhere for overflow or anything.

The ranger told me that Sheep Camp was closed, but….. Sheep Camp was still closed but…… I asked if I should wait and she said I might want to. The ranger then gave me a map of Sheep Camp and pointed out pull-thru campsites that would work well for us.

I drove down to Sheep Camp and the gate was still closed. I then drove back to the open campground and it was packed with people. There wasn’t a single space for us. I then drove back to Sheep Camp, the gate was closed but a guy in a small truck was parked just off the road at the turn into Sheep Camp. I asked him if he was waiting for it to open and he said yes. He asked me if it was my impression that the campground would open and I told him that it was what I read into the ranger’s answer.

The guy in the small truck pulled up closer to the turn in and I parked right behind him. About 5 min later, rangers drove up from inside the campground and unlocked the gate. I drove right to the pull-thru site, by the river, where our slide out would face the river. I put 2 chairs out and drove up to secure the site. Fortunately, there were only the 2 of us in the campground so I didn’t need to worry about someone taking it.
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I pulled around and started to get out of the truck to get the payment envelope. The other guy was there and we were talking briefly. I’d just told him that I didn’t know the license plate # of my truck. I said that my husband should be coming up the road soon, I turned and looked at the road and there was Dale driving up the road.
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I laid into the horn on Justin’s truck but couldn’t tell if Dale saw me or not. But within minutes, Dale had found a place to make a U-turn and he came into the campground. I led him to our campsite and we were feeling quite smug.

Posted by Miss Chris 08:17 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature travel national_parks camping rv outdoors family_travel grandkids kings_canyon Comments (0)

Treats On A Camping Trip

Somehow it all works out

sunny 105 °F

6:30 am came early, too early, with a wake-up call via a knock on the door. I threw on my robe and there was the host. “You can’t camp on the road” and “you didn’t pay”. Yes, we are fully aware that we cannot camp on the road, but as we told you last night, our truck won’t start. And yes we will pay now and for 2 sites since our older grandkids had set up a tent. The empty campground was going to fill up in minutes I was sure.

Dale tried to start the truck but nothing, then he sprayed the brake cleaner and there was a sputter. He sprayed again and after more sputtering the truck sprang to life as if it had never played stalling games with us.

We got set up in the same campsite we’d stayed in several weeks ago.

The plan was that we’d go down to Lone Pine, a town about 20 min south of Independence. There is an Interagency Office at the south edge of Lone Pine which issues backpacking permits, passes, and gives info on the backcountry and surrounding National Parks. Justin had named Dale as one of the backpack leaders so that Dale could get the permit, thus saving Justin a trip down on Thurs a.m.

We promised the kids that if they were good, no running, no acting crazy, that we’d get them a little something plus then stop for ice cream on our way back to the campground. While Dale picked up the permit, kids found Jr. Ranger vests and lots of hand puppets to play with while they waited.
A stop for ice cream in the over 100F day was so welcome and a treat for kids behaving.
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Back at the campsite kids ran like wild Banshee. Apparently, they found a secret place by the river where they could rock hop and look for lizards to put into the bug box.
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Later we built a fire, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and waited for boys to arrive.
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I got a text from each boy with an eta. It was after 10:40 pm. Nate was to be arriving in about 15 min. Soon a car whizzed past us and we wondered it if was Nate. Sure enough, we got a call from Nate, “where are you?” We explained that we watched as he flew past and that he should come back down the hill and we’d be waiting. Dale ran out to the road, flashlight in hand, and there came Nate, whizzing down. We watched as the car lights made a U-turn and we were reunited with our kids.

After lots of wine and food, everyone was ready for bed and the long hike ahead.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:46 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature travel camping rv outdoors family_travel grandkids Comments (0)

Camping at South Beach

overcast

On Friday, after the park, we returned to our RV, packed it up and headed for the South Beach State Park. http://southcoastoregon.com/ Clayton/Jen and kids, Justin/Christine and kids and Dale and I all had reservations for campsites. The campsites were scattered around the park, as we reserved them late.

Dale and I arrived 1st at the park. We couldn’t remember our site number so stopped at the ranger kiosk to look up our site #. As we were looking at a map, a ranger drove up and asked if she could help. She recognized our last name and said that they’d tried to call as our site had a broken water outlet. We advised her that we had 3 separate sites, all scattered. The ranger then told us that we could all camp in a closed area and have 3 sites together.

As it turned out the sites the ranger assigned to us were larger than the open sites, had a large grassy area behind and they were away from the crowded open area. Got lucky that time.

We set up our RV and then set up the tent for Justin. They would arrive late so we wanted everything to be ready for them.
After dinner and kids were asleep, we sat around the table outside, drinking some beer and wine. We waited for Justin and Christine to arrive so we could then party on.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:32 Archived in USA Tagged nature travel oregon camping rv outdoors family_travel south_beach_oregon Comments (0)

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