OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

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OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#1

Post by DaveK » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:52 am

Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

Our net this week will focus on destinations that should be on everybody's short list of GREAT places to visit - Kings Canyon National Park and the surrounding areas. Kings Canyon National park and Sequoia National National Park are contiguous, and, in many ways, are governed by the same set of rules and regulations. In our current set of circumstances (the Corona), this means that some closures are currently in effect for both Kings Canyon and some of the surrounding areas, but should be lifted soon.

So, bookmark this net preview so you can enjoy these fabulous ares when things are open, once again. There will be much more to this preview, but here is a little teaser, to pique your interest.

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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#2

Post by DaveK » Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:05 pm

KINGS CANYON AND SURROUNDING AREAS

OVERVIEW


The purpose of this net will be to showcase one of the most scenic and spectacular locations in the USA.

Like most of our adventures, we concentrate on trips that explore remote wilderness areas, and which are well off the beaten path. This mostly means travel that is often only available to 4 wheel drive vehicles. When the opportunity arises, we also prefer dispersed camping, meaning a campsite that is nothing more than an area that we can call home. In these remote wilderness locations, there are no established campgrounds with all the comforts of home. and that means no electricity, running water, tables, campground hosts, and more. Our ideal campsite is when there are no facilities of any kind.

With no disrespect intended or implied, the High Sierras offer a mountain experience that meets all of our criteria for a great adventure, and are like no other. And, trust me when I say that I have this exact same appreciation for all the places I have visited, and that is why all of our trips should be on your short list of places to visit.

For all of you who are familiar with the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, you know that "off-raod" travel is prohibited. Translated, that means that there are no 4WD trails, and ALL visitors must remain on paved roads. I am also not aware of any opportunity in these two National Parks for "dispersed camping." NOT a problem, and here's why. Adjacent to both National Parks is the Sequoia National Forest, which offers the adventurous 4 wheel drive camper these incredible advantages:
  • While the National Parks are defined by artificial boundaries, the forest has no regard for the difference between one forest and another. This means that you can camp, and enjoy a High Sierra forest experience where you will be surrounded by the very same type of forest as that in the National Parks, the only difference being trees that are just a bit smaller.
  • AND, there are FANTASTIC 4WD trails where dispersed camping is allowed.
Given the size of each of these areas, and the large number of things to experience, we feel that there are two important considerations that should be part of your trip planning:
  • A full, or fuller, enjoyment the mountains will only be possible when more time can be devoted to your visit. Yes, you can use a weekend for a visit, but way too much of your time will be spent setting up and taking down your campsite. We have found that 4 days is an ideal minimum. More is always better
  • Once you have experienced the High Sierras, you will understand the need for return visits, and many of them.
If you have family, there is no finer experience that this trip.
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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#3

Post by DaveK » Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:23 pm

KINGS CANYON AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Off Road Trails


One of the best parts of setting up camp in the Sequoia National Forest is the short ride, over great trails, to get to other places in the National Parks (and even within in the National Forest.) We haven't seen all of the 4WD trails in the Forest, but for the ones we have, it is safe to say that they will offer even the hardest core wheeler, a definite challenge. In fact, there are some portions of these trails that could only be conquered by very well built, well equipped rock crawlers. Fortunately, for us, there are bypass roads for the really gnarly parts, but still plenty of other technical stuff to keep our attention riveted!

We will highlight only one trail during the net, but it gives a pretty good insight into to what is available for those who want to get into the remote areas of the forest. The trail is the "Buck Rock Jeep Trail" and the sign at the trail head is a pretty good indicator of what to expect:

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It is the scenery, and of course the solitude, that are some of the things that make this trip such a success. While the ride to and from camp is enough to justify the trip, there is so much more. Here are a few views of the trail to camp:


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It's so easy to get carried away with taking pictures, and eventually, we found our group taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking ......................

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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#4

Post by DaveK » Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:23 pm

KINGS CANYON AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Camp


No established camp ground can come close to matching the dispersed camping benefits allowed in the National Forest. Even though these campsites have no facilities of any kind, we enjoy all the comforts of home, including showers, kitchens, camp tables, hand washing stations, and more. Done right, all these "comforts" are easy to carry, quick to set up, light weight, and make for a great experience for everyone, especially family members that will benefit from a positive first time wilderness camping experience. Along with a campfire at night (when allowed), it makes for a perfect day.

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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#5

Post by DaveK » Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:24 pm

KINGS CANYON AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Places to Visit / Things to Do


1. Buck Rock Fire Lookout Station

The Buck Rock Fire Lookout is located in the Sequoia National Forest. It is accessible by dirt roads, is open to the public, and is a must-see when you visit the area. Fire Look out stations are in many respects, a thing of the past, although the Buck Rock station still functions. It's history is well preserved, and is available here: http://www.buckrock.org/aboutbrl.html. Here is a small excerpt from this website, and a visit there, to get the full story, is highly recommended.

In the land of the giant sequoias, perched on a granite dome at 8,502’ Buck Rock Lookout offers a spectacular 360-degree view stretching from the Coastal Ranges across the San Joaquin Valley to the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada. An icon of a by-gone era, Buck Rock captures the spirit of the forest, our conservation heritage and all that nature has to offer.

Fire lookouts were originally developed to help protect our nation’s forests from devastating wildfires. Established as early as 1912, Buck Rock was one of the first permanent fire detection locations in the Sierra Nevada. The current building was constructed in 1921-22 and is historically significant as one of the earliest live-in style cabs. Prior to this building a ranger, using a series of ladders, would climb the rock to scan for smokes using only binoculars, a compass and a map. Spotting a smoke, he would quickly descend hop on his horse, and chase down the fire. Today, the lookout is fully equipped with modern radios and a telephone used to report fires and other emergency incidents. Except for some minor modifications, the lookout remains true to its original design – a visit to Buck Rock is like stepping into the past.

For several years in the 1980’s and 1990’s Buck Rock was closed, used only for emergencies during fire season. Unwilling to see this historic treasure lost for future generations, a local grass-roots organization was formed to save it. Working with the Forest Service, the Buck Rock Foundation obtained grants, recruited volunteers and continues to renovate the lookout. It was finally re-opened in 2000 and today Buck Rock is staffed seven days a week during a fire season that can stretch for 6 months.

Buck Rock is open to the public from 10:30 to 5:00 daily during fire season, usually June to October, but may be closed due to fire activity or adverse weather conditions.


Here is what it looks like:

THE LOOKOUT

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THE VIEWS

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THE OAUSA CREW (at the top, on the lookout)

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2. General Grant Grove

The Grant Grove is a spectacular showcase of some of the largest and most majestic trees in the world. Contained within the grove and nearby are several trails that explore different aspects of this area. Visiting them all is not realistically possible in a day. Another reason why longer duration trips are advisable. More information is available from the Park Service at, https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/ggdayhikesum.htm. Here are some excerpts from the website:
General Grant Tree Trail
One of the world's largest living trees. President Coolidge proclaimed it the Nation's Christmas tree in 1926. Visit the historic Gamlin Cabin and the Fallen Monarch along this 1/3 mile (.5 km) paved trail. Start at the General Grant Tree Parking area, 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of the Kings Canyon Visitor Center.

North Grove Loop
This lightly traveled, 1.5 mile trail provides an opportunity for a close look at the big trees. Enjoy a quiet walk past meadows and creeks, through mixed conifer and sequoia forest. The trailhead is at the Grant Tree parking area, 1 mile northwest of the visitor center.

Buena Vista Peak
The 2 mile round-trip hike up this granite peak begins just south of the Kings Canyon Overlook on the Generals Highway. Drive 6 miles southeast of Grant Grove Village, and park at the indicated area near the trailhead. From the top of Buena Vista Peak, a 360-degree view looks out over the majestic sequoias in Redwood Canyon, Buck Rock Fire Tower, and beyond to a splendid panorama of the high Sierra.

Redwood Canyon
The trailhead for this area is 2 miles down a rough dirt road 6 miles south of Grant Grove Village. This road is closed to vehicle traffic in the winter. Redwood Canyon is one of the largest of all sequoia groves. Sixteen miles of trail are available for short walks, day hikes and overnight backpacking trips. As you hike through sequoia/mixed conifer forest, meadow and shrubland, you will see sign of many fires, some recent, some ancient. The result of 30 years of prescribed fires, showing the positive relationship between fire and sequoias.
A few pictures, but as always, full appreciation is only possible by actually being there.

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3. Natural Caverns

There are said to be over 300 natural caverns or caves in the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. A few are open to the public, and well worth the visit. The Park Service says this about the cave systems, https://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/nature/cave.htm:
By some accounts Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks could have been set aside solely to protect the amazing caves found in this area of the Southern Sierra Nevada. The two parks protect half of the caves more than a mile long in California, the longest cave in the state, numerous karst streams, and some of the best alpine karst topography in the United States. The caves contain Pleistocene era fossils, rare minerals, and unique animals. They are the sites of numerous scientific research projects and provide recreational opportunities to thousands of park visitors each year.

These parks contain at least 275 caves. This number continues to rise as more caves are discovered. Caves are found primarily in the western one-third of the parks in narrow bands of marble. Caves form where streams on the surface are diverted underground, and the mildly acidic waters can dissolve soluble rocks like limestone, eventually forming caverns.

Park caves occur at a variety of elevations, from 1,640 feet to more than 9,800 feet. As a result, cave temperatures range from just above freezing to over 60F. Cave conditions vary across this elevation range. The parks' lowest cave is amidst oaks and grasses, and its passages are warm, dry, and dusty. In contrast, some alpine caves have floors or walls of transparent ice.


Some links for the caverns in the Kings Canyon area:

1. http://www.nps.gov/seki/naturescience/cave.htm

2. http://www.nps.gov/seki/naturescience/c ... UMP_114878

3. http://www.caves.org/pub/journal/PDF/V6 ... espain.pdf

4. Great book on the caves of Sequoia and Kings Canyon: Hidden Beneath the Mountains, Caves of Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks by Joel Despain. See: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Beneath-Mo ... 0939748568

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Here are a few pictures of caves we have visited in the Parks:

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4. Enjoy Great Cuisine and Beverage

Remote wilderness camping is really where great meals and beverages are most appreciated. There is just no getting around it - great chow, with great beverages, great family/friends, and great scenery, is mighty tough to beat. I'll even go one step further - it is the best!!!!!

From steaks being barbecued over an open fire to fried chicken, it was top cuisine all the way.

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5. Ham Radio Operating

We confirmed one of the most important axioms in Ham radio - there is so substitute for a 8,100 foot antenna. At camp, we had the opportunity to really get out, both on HF and VHF. Much more on the Net.

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DaveK
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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#6

Post by DaveK » Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:25 pm

KINGS CANYON AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Weather and Altitude


The first thing that everyone needs to know is the elevation of this area. Camp is at 8,100 feet, and you should be aware of two things:
  • This altitude is really getting up there. Advise all your guests of this and make sure that they are not susceptible to altitude sickness, and be prepared to deal with it if it becomes a problem.
  • Mountain weather, like desert weather, can be very unpredictable, and you are well advised to be prepared for the unexpected. Never let your guard down and don't assume that it won't change.


We will cover our episode of "unanticipated weather" on the net, but the following pictures show what we encountered, even after having done our part by checking the weather. We were prepared for the unexpected, and this interesting turn in the weather was actually quite enjoyable. There's more, so join us on the net.

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This was the road, or more precisely, it was there under the snow. Leaving camp was not advisable until it melted.

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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#7

Post by DaveK » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:02 pm

POSTSCRIPT

It always make for a more memorable trip when you are prepared for breakdowns. Four wheel drive gremlins often strike when you least expect it. On this trip, they struck. One member of our group experienced a front steering failure, and as luck would have it, he had a spare part.

The only other thing that is as valuable as having spare parts is having someone who really knows how to replace it. We had both.

We decided to entitle this photograph of our repair crew, as below (don't laugh - it worked!!!):

ONE MECHANIC AND 4 SUPERVISORS

Mechanic and Supervisors.JPG
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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#8

Post by toms » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:17 pm

Product Spot Light

18 In. x 12 In. 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly
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You can get a small 18 x 12 inch dolly for $10.99 at Harbor Freight. Sometimes even less when on sale.

I prefer to make every thing I set on the garage floor mobile. It make it easy to store camping gear and to move it when it is in the way.
In addition, if for some unusual situation the garage floor ends up flooded with 4 or even 5 inches of water, all my gear stays dry.

Firewood & Camp Box -m.jpg
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The dollies make it easy to roll in and out under a work bench.
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On some dollies I have filled in the space with scrap wood, to level out the surface.
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I have a larger dolly that I set my file cabinet on. That makes it easier to move it to clean and sweep the garage.
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See you on the Trail!
TomS
KI6FHA / WPZW486

Badlands Off-Road
tom@4x4training.com
http://www.4x4training.com

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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#9

Post by k9atk » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:07 pm

Plese check inn
K9ATK BRIAN
K9FOG TRISH
KD0EXI CHEYENNE
KD0RHA TYLER
KD0GPE AUSTIN
Thanks
Looking again to a great net

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Re: OAUSA Net - April 30, 2020 - Destination Kings Canyon and Surrounding Areas

#10

Post by NotAMog » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:19 pm

Please check-in

John - KN6VL

Bruce - KD6GCO
Bruce Berger
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'91 Honda ST1100 197,000miles and counting :shock: (I hope to make it to at least half the places this bike has been)
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'07 Moto Guzzi Norge - Corsa Red - The faster color :mrgreen:

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