It's 7:30pm, and I'm sitting in a rocking chair close to a fireplace in the lobby of the John Muir Lodge at Grants Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Glowing embers and dancing flames are providing the entertainment along with a good dose of radiant heat tonight. It's wonderful... magical. Imagine... having long conversations with people we hadn't met before tonight... a very nice couple from Denver... and a foursome from near Paris, France. One of the wonderful things about lodges in many, maybe most of the National Parks, is that there's no damn TV on the premises... not in your room, not in the lobby, not anywhere. And not just no signal, or no cable, or satellite... no sir, there's no dang TV set at all. No old fashioned fat TV set with the big curvy screen... No modern flat-screen hanging on the wall... Nothing. Just a flat credenza with a coffee pot, ice bucket, telephone, a place to plop your bag... and that's it. So rather than sit in your room and stare at the blank walls and the ice bucket, people gravitate down to the lobby and gather around the fireplace... and, imagine this... talk. Why can't more motel/hotels be like this?? I'll tell you why... because most of the population wouldn't patronize a place with no TV! Arrgghh$@@%^I$$#@**^
Ok, settle down Thom... back to our day.
After knocking out a couple chores on the 90 mile way up here to Kings Canyon from Park Sierra, where we left the bus-house alone for the next two days... chores like procuring a set of cheap cable chains (tire chains) for the toad (to stay legal in the high Sierras in the Winter), we arrived at Grants Grove Village in Kings Canyon NP a little after noon. At 6600 feet, we're well above the snow-line here... there's about 6 inches on the ground. After getting our visitor center fix, checking in to our room at the lodge, and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we headed out (and down) on a 34 mile each way trip into the canyon.
John Muir once described Kings Canyon as even more spectacular than Yosemite. How can you not agree with a judgement like that from John Muir?? It was spectacular. Most of the afternoon we were just in dis-belief at our surroundings. Looking up, grinning, saying things like "Wow". Again, words fail and I'll just let the memories soak in.
Tomorrow, we're hoping the road from here to Sequoia National Park opens up. It's been closed for a few days due to snow... but they're working on it and we're hopeful. If it doesn't open tomorrow, we may have to take some of the trails around here and see what we can find to explore.
Up until about 3 weeks ago there was only weak and spotty cell phone coverage here. But then Verizon flipped the switch on a new cell tower just up the road and that's all changed. Strong voice, strong data, it's a wonderful thing. Unless you've got AT&T... then it's "no soup for you".
Took a bunch of photos today, but they're not ready yet and may not be until later in the week.