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We took the last few days to do a little day-hiking and exploring in Sequoia National Park. We'd been there a few times before, usually in the Grant Grove area before heading down into Kings Canyon...but this time we were going to stay in Lodgepole--an area we hadn't visited before.

We started with a picnic lunch in the Big Stump Picnic area...where a street sweeping machine decided that exactly noon would be a great time to raise huge clouds of dust in the picnic area. Geeze....anyway, we did eat our lunch, and then continued on to Lodgepole.

The campground was booked solid on, but we still noticed quite a few open sites over the three days we were there. And both the visitors center and store were still closed for the winter season. That first afternoon we hiked to Tokopa Falls--a nice hike, with a lovely reward at the end, and a great way to get a bit acclimated to the altitude.

Day two was dedicated to the Crescent Meadow area--where we hiked around both Crescent and Log Meadows, plus a bit of the Trail of the Sequoias...and then out for a few miles on the High Sierra Trail.

The HST gave us great views of the Great Western Divide...and made us start thinking of backpacking at least of part of this trail in the future...hmmm.

After visiting the grinding rocks off the Bobcat Trail (conveniently located in the afternoon shade...those Native Americans were no dummies) we headed back to camp having hiked about ten miles in total.

Sign at the Redwood Canyon Trailhead...

Day Three was our day to explore the Redwood Canyon Trails. We started with the Sugarbowl trail, and loved it. How can you not like a trailhead sign that quotes Honore de Balzac? This was a spectacular wander through massive trees...and it was a sacred privilege to enjoy this walk with only four other people. That's M, wandering below.

And after a lunch in the heart of one of these groves down in Redwood Canyon, we hiked back up the canyon to the trailhead through blooming dogwoods and towering redwoods.

To cap off the day, we decided to go to the Giant Forest after dinner---which turned out to be a really smart move. The parking lot had only a few cars, and we basically had the trees to ourselves. It was an almost perfect ending to the trip.

What was perfect was the next morning, when we saw a healthy young black bear hopping across the road on our way out of the park.

We'll be back, that's for sure.

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