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View Full Version : A Very British Trip Report - California 2005 - Day 4


Kevin Stringer
08-26-2005, 11:49 AM
Day 4 Ė Saturday 6th August

Me: Kev, 47.
Wife: Tam, 41.
Daughter: India, 14.
Daughter: Georgia, 11.

If youíd like to know more take a look at http://freespace.virgin.net/kevin.stringer/index.htm

I wake and look at the clock. 3.15am. Oh dear. A restless couple of hours follow, but I eventually drop off again before we all wake at 7.00am.

Showered and ready to go we leave the room at 9.00am. We are going horse riding at Grant Grove.
The scenic drive up the mountains to Grant Grove takes approx 1 hour and is mistier than yesterday. We have to eat breakfast first so we drop in to Grant grove Village where we get the buffet. Itís $8,95 for adults and $6.95 for children. The choice is limited by American standards, fruit, pancakes, bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs and pastries. All very good. Itís a very good way to start the day along with plenty of hot coffee.

Next is a visit to the General Grant Tree, which is the 3rd largest tree in the world. It may seem like we are seeing a lot of trees and you may be thinking Ďseen one tree, seen them allí, but they are all in different settings and you would be very hard pushed not to be amazed by these monsters.
By the way, why are they all named after Generals? Whatís wrong with the rest of the military ranks? How about the Sergeant Wilson Tree? Or the Private Pike Bush?

At 11,30am we arrive at the Grant grove Pack Station for our $30 per person 1-hour ride. None of us has ever ridden before so this could be interesting. As it turns out you donít really have to do anything except sit there and let the horse do the rest.
They say that your horse reflects your personality and I think this may be true.
I ride Tigger Ė a handsome devil.
Tam has Try Ė a beauty to be sure, but a little slow.
Indiaís is Baker Ė takes regular bathroom stops.
Georgia rides Computer Ė Frisky yet sullen.

We get our monies worth as the ride is closer to 75 minutes than 1 hour and winds through the trees barely seeing another person.
When we get off Tam declares it to be Ďamazingí. That seems to be her word for the holiday. I canít say I disagree; everything so far has been amazing.
Iím glad we only did it for 1 hour. My legs havenít been so stretched apart since ÖÖ well, never you mind since when. The thing that hurts most is my knees. As I climb off the horse they nearly give way. I have developed a newly found respect for John Wayne.

Next we drive the 7 or so miles to Hume Lake and continue on past to Sandy Cove. You may be surprised to hear that we find a sandy area in a cove. Feeding the lake is a stream, which tumbles over rocks leaving all sorts of interesting little pools to play in. We spend a fun couple of hours watching the girls slipping and sliding. Actually I spend the time watching; Tam splashes with the girls and slides down smooth rocks into freezing pools. The womanís mad.

It starts to get cloudy and there are some rumbles of thunder although it never does rain. We pack up and head back to Hume Lake. This is a Christian camp with lots of wood cabins set back in the woods surrounding the lake. Itís very pretty and there is a gift shop, store and snack shop. You can also hire bikes and boats from here. The rowing boats are a bargain at $5 per hour. Only lack of time prevents us hiring one and me attempting my Steve Redgrave impersonation.

A drink (no beer! Whatís the matter with these Christians?) and ice cream are despatched while staring across the lake. Iím a little disappointed that there arenít a lot of people singing ĎJesus wants me for a sunbeamí and exalting me to give up the demon drink. All we meet are happy and polite people enjoying themselves in a very beautiful place. Perhaps there is some reward for a virtuous life after all.

The drive back down into Kings Canyon is as stunning as ever and we stop a few times to take photos and video. At one stop we hear the sound of a helicopter and as it flies overhead we see it has a water bucket attached. They are obviously still fighting the fire. A notice in Grant Grove had told us that it has so far consumed 21,000 acres! I think this gives some idea of the vast nature of these National Parks.
We also learned that fire is no bad thing for the forest. In the early days of the National Parks they tried to put out the fires as soon as they started, but found that the trees didnít grow so well. They now have controlled fires to clear out some of the canopy to allow more light in and to make the ground more fertile.

Back at Cedar grove lodge we grab a 6 pack of beer and sit at a picnic table by the side of the fast flowing river. You wouldnít exactly say it was Ďragingí, but it ainít hanging around either.

Everyone is desperate to see a bear. I offer to act grizzly for them, but Iím told that would be no different to normal. And before you all laugh at my lack of knowledge, I know that the bears in this neck of the woods are Black bears, not Grizzlyís.
There follows a discussion on which of us would be what sort of bear. I say Georgia would be a Grizzly, which engenders a sad look on the childís face. So we say she is a cub instead. India is a Pooh bear, donít even think of asking why. Tam takes matters into her own hands and declares she would be a Honey Bear as she is such a honey. India says I should be a Polar Bear because Iím so cool. She has now moved up to number one child.

Back to the room to shower before heading to the restaurant, although thatís probably overstating the standing of this food emporium, to eat.
To be fair, I probably maligned this place yesterday. It isnít really meant to be much more than a fast food establishment and it achieves that pretty well.
Between the 4 of us we have chicken strips, hamburger, chicken burger and fish and chips. With drinks this comes to $48.

After the meal there isnít really an awful lot to do, so we go back to the room at 8.45pm where I write up my trip report while the ladies play cards.
Not exactly a rip-roaring end to the day, but when youíve had such a good time it would be a little churlish to complain.
Tomorrow we head off to Yosemite.

jobo
08-26-2005, 01:04 PM
wonderful trip reposts! Can't wait for next installment :bounce:

lulubelle
08-26-2005, 06:16 PM
WOW, what a wonderful family vacation this is turning out to be! I think it is so cute you all were named after a type of bear :) And I could imagine the complaints I would hear if the lodge had no TV or internet or movies....

Really looking forward to the next day (and beyond!) - Kevin, you are a talented writer :flower:

minmaui
08-27-2005, 01:26 AM
Can't wait for tomorrows installment. What can we do to speed it up. Maybe 2 a day. LOL

sharon78
08-27-2005, 02:18 AM
Another great day,sounds AMAZING,can't wait to read more :drinking1

:earsgirl:

Judy from Boise
08-28-2005, 06:29 PM
My church youth group went to Hume Lake every year for camp. Beleive it or not it always produced the coolest Christian rock and roll songs ! It was a trend setter !

Minniespal
11-16-2006, 05:41 AM
Excellent ~ Can't wait to read more :)