My first big outing after arriving in Death Valley was a weekend trip the Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks. I took off early in the morning while the desert temperatures were still mild and started on CA190.
At first, the seemingly-endless desert scared me. I had no service, little water, and had no idea where I was going without my GPS. The first thing resembling a town I came upon was Trona. I had 3/4s of a tank, but was paranoid with the many remaining hours of my drive. I attempted to get gas, but nothing came out. I tried this repeatedly before going into the convenience store and asking for help. This was met with zero encouragement, so I drove off to another station. And the same thing happened again. I began to think that this was a town from a Goosebumps novel that wasn’t going to let me leave. Therefore, I got in my car and motored until I was on a more recognizable highway system.
As it turns out, the gas pump thing was 100% user error. The California pumps are a little different from the average ones and require one to really push the nozzle in.
I eventually made it to Sequoia National Park. It was incredibly busy, and I had to park a mile away from the shuttle that would take me to General Sherman, the world’s biggest tree in terms of volume.
I arrived after waiting too long for the shuttle. I was in awe of the giant trees, and I felt very alone in this park packed with people. Everyone seemed to have a hiking buddy, while I was too afraid to do anything adventurous by myself (I was even more inexperienced then than I am now).
I drove around the windy roads, making an occasional stop at a pull-out, figuring I’d return to the park the next day. Soon, I arrived in the King’s Canyon portion of the National Park. Of course, the road to see General Grant was blocked off, and I realized there wasn’t much else for me to do in the park.
I headed off to Fresno toward my Airbnb. I had been eating strictly my own home-cooked meals consisting of a bean, vegetable, and rice, so I was looking forward to eating out. I looked for a well-rated Vietnamese restaurant that was vegetarian-friendly. I arrived at one, went in, and discovered that they had absolutely nothing that was vegetarian. I went back to the car and found my plan B.
The second restaurant was perfect: large portion of pho, bubble tea, AND a banh mi. I was living it up. I headed to my cozy Airbnb and planned my next day.
The plan turned into Yosemite for the next day (the day before Memorial Day… *shudders*), so I never returned to Sequoia and King’s Canyon.
I wish I had gone on a less-busy day and had more time to hike and actually explore. Don’t worry, I’m already planning future trips.
Sequoia and King’s Canyon were my 4th and 5th National Parks.