Trail head: General Grant Tree
Trail: Dead Giant/North Grove Loops
Travel Time: 2:11 (1.51 mph)
Moving Time: 1:36 (2.06 mph)
Elevation Rise: 664'
Trail head: Big Stump Parking Lot
Trail: Big Stump Loop
Destination: Big Stump Area
Moving Time: 1:01 (1.77 mph)
Elevation Rise: 212'
Maximum Elevation: 6,423'
Today's forecast is for a bright and beautiful day. And that is how things started. Sherri and I met with Karol, our fearless leader, and Beth for breakfast at the Blossom Tree Cafe in Sanger. I had the morning breakfast special of eggs, French toast, and hash browns. Filling. Then the other seven meetup members joined us at 8:30. Up we go to Grant Grove in Kings Canyon.
We stop briefly at the Visitor Center, then on to the General Grant parking lot. We decide we do not need snowshoes or snow tracks, the snow does not seem to be that deep; it does not go over my boots. We head down the Sunset Trail. We pass by the North Grove cutoff. Karol asks if I would like to lead since I know the way. So I go in front. Snow is not to bad, it snowed Tuesday and the snow is still pretty light, not packed yet. The trees are also full of snow, and it is not melting on us.
We get to the bottom of the road down, and the North Grove Loop takes off to the North, but we first want to pay a visit to the Dead Giant. So we head south. The road level's off. We go around a meadow, at least that is what it looks like in the Summer time. Now, there is standing water here and there. But we do not get wet as we are able to navigate around it.
This brings us to the Dead Giant Loop. This is a nice trail, a little elevation gain, but not too much. But instead of a road to follow, now it is a summer track. So I look for the indentation where the trail is, and the clearing which the trail follows. We quickly come to the Dead Giant and properly survey it, even getting a picture in.
Onward we go, continuing the loop. There is a nice lookout where you are able to see Sequoia Lake. But today, it is cloudy-sort of looks like we are in the middle of fog. So all we see is white. We complete the loop and start following back the trail to the North Grove Trail.
Off to the cafe by the Visitor Center. I only had ice tea, and mooch a bit of Sherri's potato-bacon soup. Pretty good stuff. I was still pretty content with my breakfast still. It has gotten colder, and the clouds are still pretty thick. Down we go to Big Stump.
Lunch has made us a bit lethargic. But once we get going, we enjoy this walk. The snow is a bit deeper than the North Grove area. Some folks put on tracks, but I am doing ok without them. This area is beautiful, but a different kind of attraction. We descend down into the meadow, and wander around on the trail. We pass several stumps and wonder what kinds of stately trees stood where these stumps are.
Some of us climb up on the Mark Twain Stump. (What stumped Mark Twain?) The debate after the stump is where does the trail go? We decide it crosses the road, and we make for it. After that the trail climbs up. Now we find more tracks, this time, it is of a larger size animal. Koral identifies it as a bear. We see these tracks several times. There is a bit of concern, mostly because these are recent. But we do not see the bear. We complete the trail with a lot of good feelings. Not because it was strenuous, but because we enjoyed our time together and the beauty of the big trees.