We began our trip Aug 25th in Yosemite. See trip report :
Not sure if that link worked. Not very tech savy.
Left Tuolumne Lodge at sunrise and drove out the south entrance of Yosemite to Kings Canyon. Made another stop at Von's in Oakhurst to restock and get a Starbucks and continued on. Think we were at Grant's Grove by a little after noon or so. Went to the Visitor's Center, stamped my book, picked up some trinkets and ate a little picnic lunch. Wandered around the Grove for a bit, it was busy but not bustling. Then started the drive down to Cedar Grove. Amazing. Took many pics on the way down. Stayed at Cedar Grove Lodge. The rooms are ok, but amazing location, my husbands favorite stay as the river still had good flow and a rushing sound even this late in the season. We got settled in. I went for a quick run down the road - still very warm even though evening. Had a mixed dinner from picnic items and stuff from the little grill restaurant. Ate out on the deck by the river. Drove down to check out Road's End. No one - there or in any campgrounds. Amazingly deserted. Headed back and sat out on the outdoor deck by the river and read our books. Loved this lodging; especially the fact that the outdoor seating areas were posted smoke-free and that made it quite enjoyable to spend time outside.
Did a early morning run as the sun came up. In room breakfast, but I caught my husband eating eggs and potatoes from the grill later after I showered and they looked good. Free coffee for guests! The staff at the store, lodge, restaurant were all very cheerful and friendly. We packed up the room. I let him pick the hike for the day and he chose the Mist Falls Trail. It started at Road's End and was fantastic. About 9 + miles round trip. Views from the Canyon Floor, through a mixed forest, over granite boulders and all in eyesight or earshot of the River. Had a picnic lunch by the falls. Returned to the trailhead and then walked out a bit on the river trail and to Muir rock area. He was done with hiking, but I continued the trail to do the Zumwalt Meadow loop and got some nice pics in the full sun. Would love to see it in full wild flower bloom. Think this was the prettiest meadow of the trip. Will mention - we had no bugs up to this point in the trip, but in the early morning, we were swarmed by these little knat flies that had full immunity to deet. Fortunately they did not bite and were just a nuisance that cleared as the full sun came out. Stopped at the little visitors center and stamped my book. Got a map of Giant Forest area and the ranger there helped me map together a nice hike for the next day. We were dirty and sweaty and started the beautiful drive out the canyon. My husband wanted something to drink besides warm water so we stopped at that little Cave place and he got a drink. As we were approaching the top of the Canyon a rotted lodge pole pine stump had fallen across the road. A car in the other direction had just stopped. Of course I wondered of the course of events if our timing had been different. The men in other car and my husband were able to move the large log off the road and then we cleaned up sticks and branches and got some sticky hands.
We then drove on to Sequoia and stopped at the Lodgepole Visitor's Center and got the book stamped. We had dinner reservations for 6:25 and it was almost 5 pm so we got to the Wuksacki Lodge, checked in and got cleaned up. Dinner was good. Little pricy, nice service. My husband had the pork and said it was great, my chicken was ok. Wanted to see the Sherman tree that evening so we were racing the sun. Got parked, and half ran down the trail. Got some pics with sunlight reflecting off the branches. Lingered there awhile and appreciated the growing darkness and quiet with only four other people around.
Breakfast in room. First people to park at the Giant Forest Museum. We had a 9.5 mile hike planned. It was lovely. Started at the museum, took Alta and hiked toward Huckleberry then Squatter's cabin to Crescent Meadow where we ate another late breakfast. Then looped onto the High Sierra Trail and out to Eagle View with awesome photos. Returned down the trail and took the Trail of the Sequoias up to Congress Loop and wandered down to the Cattle Cabin and had lunch on a rock. Then we returned past Circle Meadow and to the top end of Crescent to branched over to Tharp's Log and Log Meadow and then returned by the south side of Crescent. We got on the shuttle back to the museum. I could not talk my husband into going to Moro Rock and walking up the steps. But I got a nice view of Moro Rock from Eagle View. We drove to the Lodgepole store and picked up some trinkets. Think my husband got a hamburger - the fifth day of peanut butter sandwiches wasn't cutting it and I got a butter-pecan ice cream cone. We showered and relaxed rest of afternoon. I liked Wuksachi but wished they had more outdoor seating near the lodge rooms. Just a few chairs by the main entrance and this seemed always have cigarette smoke wafting around. Had dinner again there we split a large salad and a pasta dish and it was good. Attempts of late evening hike to Moro failed.
Early breakfast in room and packed room up. Drove to Wolverton to do Lake Trails Hike. This was my favorite hike of the trip. Incredible views and beautiful lake. Only went to Heather Lake. Would have loved to venture further. Maybe next time. Had lunch by the lake. There was one other couple there, but as we returned down the mountain we passed a lot of people heading up to the lakes (this was Saturday of Labor Day weekend). There was also a park ranger stopping back packers and checking for permits. We returned to the car and started the drive to Fresno. It was uneventful and Fresno was HOT. Stayed at a Fairfield Inn in Clovis with free points. Ate Mexican at Bobby Salzar's and the food was good. Early flight out on Sunday and got back home after dark that evening back in WV.
Thoughts: Kings Canyon should be on your radar, it is spectacular. The Sequoias are amazing and you can't even imagine them until you stand next to them. Beautiful back country hikes in Sequoia with stunning alpine lakes. And start early - it is such a quiet and peaceful time in the parks. Thanks again to all the advisors on the forum, their help was much appreciated.