Beautiful Sequoia National Park

I want to start this post with some of my favorite photos from this trip along with my favorite sayings/quotations. If you would like more information,and photos, about my experience in the Sequoia just keep scrolling 🙂 Enjoy!


“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

Albert Camus
Big Trees Trail
Big Trees Trail

“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”

William Wordsworth
BigTreesTrail2
Big Trees Trail
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
— Rachel Carson
Fog1
Crescent Meadow

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein
meadow
Crescent Meadow

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”

Anthony J. D’Angelo
moss

“Even if one tree falls down it wouldn’t affect the entire forest.”

Chen Shui-bian
sequoia

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

John Muir
Moss2
Crescent Meadow

“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”

Theodore Roethke
TharpsLog_1

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert

Conclusion

My First Visit in Sequoia
My First Visit in Sequoia

News about flash floods and  stranded vehicles on the 5 freeway (near Grapevine) was all over the media just two days before my trip to Sequoia. I was very close to canceling the trip but I’m glad I didn’t. Hours before driving, the rain stopped and the road condition was reported to be safe for traffic.

Bear
Bear Hill

Sequoia National Park BigTrees_DSC4150  is a 404,064 acres park situated in the Sierra Nevada, only 3 hours away from Los Angeles.
A true hiker’s paradise, Sequoia is home to magnificent hiking trails–you have more than 1000 choices. There are short and long trails for everyone to enjoy.
Some of the top-rated Sequoia hikes include; Big Trees Trail, Crescent Meadow Loop Trail, Congress Trail, Tokopah Falls Trail, Hazelwood Nature Trail, Alta Peak Trail, and the High Sierra Trail to Bearpaw Meadow.

My favorite trail :)
My favorite trail 🙂

The hiking trails provides out of this world experience to one of the most amazing tree groves in the world, you’ll get to enjoy flora and faunas of different colors, majestic trees of small and medium sizes, and of course, there’s the General Shermanlargest tree in the world.

General Sherman. So tall even my wide angle lens had a hard time capturing it!
The General Sherman.
So tall even my wide angle lens had a hard time capturing it!
General Sherman from another angle.
General Sherman from another angle.

The entrance fee to the park cost $20.00 per vehicle and $10.00 for individuals traveling on foot, motorcycle, or bicycle. Both passes are valid for 7 days. The park also offers annual passes for both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. For more detailed information please click here.

Accomodation

There are plenty of accommodation choices near the park. My boyfriend and I stayed at the Sierra Lodge, we got a very clean room with king-sized bed, bathroom, and a balcony. The hotel offers complimentary beverages and pastries for breakfast. I highly recommend this place, it was a bit dated but the hotel feels very homey and actually very clean! Below are some photos of the reception area. Biggest fail for not taking bedroom photos.

They have books in
They have books and maps on the front desk.  And a bear!

The biggest plus for me is its close proximity to the park, only 3 miles away from the southern entrance. There is only one thing I hated about this place, although there are designated parking spots for each rooms, the parking entrance leading to the lot is too small. Other than that, this hotel is perfect for couples and families. Rates start at $68.00 a night. To book rooms visit http://www.sierra-lodge.com. You can also find them on Agoda, Hotels.com, or Priceline.

FOG + Hiking

I am no fog expert but I am definitely a fog lover!

On the way to Tharp's Log we saw this amazing tree almost covered in fog!
On the way to Tharp’s Log we saw this amazing tree almost covered in fog!

I think fogs can add emotion to just about anything, it can make a boring hike interesting and it can definitely make any photograph dramatic.

Look at all the clouds!
Look at all the clouds!

The rain was pouring throughout the night before my hike to the Sequoias. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Nervous because of the possible park closure caused by mudslides. Excited because with every rain comes an amazing fog phenomenon! The rain didn’t tamed down until 9am the next morning. We started heading to the park entrance by 10am. The entire park is safe for visitors with only one closure, the Crystal Cave. 

There are many hiking trail choices in the park. One of my favorites is the Crescent Meadow hike, this is where I experienced the fog phenomenon I was looking for. 

The Gem of the Sierras
The Gem of the Sierras

 

 

 

 

Another one of my favorites is the Big Trees Trail.  Right by the trail is Ed by Ned, from afar it looks like one giant tree with one trunk. But it’s actually a formation of 2 trees that grew very closely to each other. Just look at the top and you’ll notice the two trunks. Twin trees! 

Say hi to Ed by NEd. Looks like one giant tree from afar. But it's actually a formation of 2 trees grown very closely to each other. Twin trees!
Say Hi to Ed by Ned.
Me posing with the trees
Me posing with the trees
I felt really small walking around the Big Trees trail. It was a gloomy day but we experienced a little bit of sun shine along the trail. The lights hitting the big trees made its reddish trunk more dramatic.
BigTreesTrail
Big Trees Trail
TharpsLog_1
Big Trees Trail
TharpsLog
Tharps Log described by John Muir as a “noble den”

And finally, our hike ended at Tharp’s Log. A cattleman named Tharp started a small cattle ranch in the Big Forest area. He then built a cabin, equipped with window, fireplace, and a door, out of a fallen log. The log was hollowed by fire through fifty-five feet of its seventy-foot length.

 

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Exploring Antelope Canyon

I just got back from my trip to Arizona, it was a long drive from Los Angeles but worth every mile of the trip. My itinerary includes a supposedly 2 nights of camping at Lone Rock Beach Campground, a tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, and of course, a photo shoot at the majestic Horseshoe Bend.

LONE ROCK BEACH CAMPGROUND

I’m giving this campground an 8/10. It is a big area and reservations are not required. Arrive early if you’re camping around the busy months of the summer. There are plenty of space for RVs and tents, but if it’s crowded you might not get the best spot–depending on your definition of a best spot. I like my tent close to the water and away from the toilets. Speaking of toilets, the vault toilets are clean, maintained, and equipped with toilet papers.

Our campsite! We have a total of 4 tents. See how close we are to the lake?
Our campsite! We have a total of 4 tents. See how close we are to the lake?

The first night of our camping trip was amazing. The moon was full and everyone was having fun. We can hear a combination of sounds coming from guitars, radio, and people singing. There was music everywhere! An over all great experience. I slept like a baby!

LakePowell
Full moon tonight.

The next night was a different story. Right when we left the campsite for our tour of the Antelope Canyon the clouds started rolling inn and rain started pouring. We can see lightning everywhere! Four people in our group decided to go back to the campsite and the rest continued with the original plan of kayaking on Lake Powell. The kayak tour took about 3-4 hours. Right after leaving the lake, our phones were immediately bombarded with messages. One of which was my friend’s distraught voicemail.

Once back at the campsite our old spot was gone! Our tents were nowhere to be found! I thought we lost them but thankfully our friends (the awesome ones who decided not to go kayaking) packed everything up. According to my friends, the tents couldn’t handle the strong wind and rain. We lost a flash flight and undies? But all these, the good and the bad, surely made this trip one for the books.

The rain was gone, too exhausted to set the tents up for the second time we headed out to Page, AZ and ended up  spending the second night at a wonderful “campsite” called Clarion Inn, teehee!

Before camping, please check the weather! I repeat, check the weather! Don’t make the same mistake me and my gang made. 

Click here for more information about Lone Rock Beach Campground. 

KAYAKING ON LAKE POWELL

I love kayaking. I had my first taste of kayaking in an open ocean environment. Hence, I find Lake Powell more relaxed and quite easy, the water is calm and you don’t have to fight giant waves. Though from time to time you do have to deal with boat traffic. You don’t have to hire a guide in order to explore the lake, but it is a huge lake and shouldn’t be underestimated.  My group and I paid $90.00 for a sunset tour with a company called Kayak Lake Powell. The tour takes about 3-4 hours and includes snacks and drinks. The guides were amazing and very professional. As the tour goes on they gave us important facts about the lake. It was a very learning experience, also very fun. I highly recommend this company. They also offer kayak rentals, expeditions, and bike rental. For more information about Kayak Lake Powell visit http://www.kayakpowell.com.

Lower Antelope Canyon

The Lower Antelope Canyon is as cool as its Navajo name Hasdeztwazi or Spiral Rock Arches. The shapes and curves down the canyon will stretch anyone’s imagination. Just have a look at the photo below, can you see the baby?

Can you see the baby? I sure do :)
Can you see the baby?

The positioning of the sun changes the colors down the canyon adding a very dramatic effect. Time your visit if you can, it’s best to go when the sun is high up and there is enough light reaching down the canyons.

Inside the Canyon
Inside the Canyon

In order to see the canyons you will have to sign up for a tour with a Navajo guide. You can’t just show up and explore on your own. For this trip, I signed up with Ken’s Tours. The cost is $20 plus an $8.00 Navajo permit fee to be paid upon entering the parking lot. You can easily make reservations online by visiting http://lowerantelope.com/. This amazing company also offers a photographer tour; 2 hours in duration and costs $42.00. A DSLR and a tripod is required. Make sure to check the weather before your trip. Keep in mind that during the monsoon season the canyons can get dangerously flooded causing the tours to get cancelled without early notice.

Horseshoe Bend

Cost: FREE

How to get to Horseshoe Bend: http://horseshoebend.com/how-to-get-here/

Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend

Antelope Canyon is about 15 minutes away from the Horseshoe Bend which makes it the perfect stop before or after your canyon tour. From the parking lot leading to the rim you have to walk/hike for 3/4 mile. Depending on your fitness level, the walk can be grueling especially during the summer months. Bring water and walk slow, I can guarantee you the view is worth every step.

One thing i wish I did on this trip was to take sunrise photos at the bend. We just didn’t have the time and the willpower to wake up before sunrise. I guess this is another reason to come back! So next time you’re in Arizona or Utah don’t hesitate to go camping and explore Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, and the Horseshoe Bend. Enjoy the photos!