Total Trip Miles: 741
Randy came over to say hello as we were packing up our things this morning. Photo op!
|Me, Alex, and Randy.|
Alex and I rolled out of camp as Randy was working on packing up his things.
Our ride started out comfortably cool, but dry. We had about 3,500 ft of climbing to get into the heart of the Sequoia National Park. We were wowed by our increase in elevation when we pulled off at a vista point and saw the squiggly road we had climbed off in the distance.
|The tough girl and the squiggly road.|
At the vista point, I put on my sunscreen. Alex called me a "geisha" because apparently I hadn't rubbed all of the sunscreen into my face.
|The geisha girl, at a different lookout.|
My perspiration tends to collect at my rock solid abs (hehe). Alex says that this is my "stomach leaking." The mockery I must put up with in order to have a riding buddy!
|Featuring my leaking stomach, at the same lookout point.|
About fifteen minutes after I put on my sunscreen, the heavy clouds started to set in. Go figure! The temperature dropped considerably, but we kept climbing.
|Why yes, that is snow on the park bench!|
I chuckled when I saw this sign outside the Giant Forest Museum.
|Read the second to last safety point.|
"Don't overexert yourself. At this elevation of 6,400 feet, activities take extra effort." Ha -- no kidding.
What is a real risk is hypothermia -- the mixture of cold and wet are prime ingredients for this condition, when your core body temperature falls below normal. I was starting to feel as though I was becoming susceptible to hypothermia. I put on some dry layers, guzzled some water, had some sugar, and ate some food. That helped. I felt better.
We then posed for photos with the famous Sentinel tree, which stands outside the front doors of the Giant Forest Museum.
|Me and Sentinel.|
We rode a few miles down the road to see the biggest tree on the planet, General Sherman. While some trees grow taller and others grow wider, General Sherman is the largest tree by mass.
There was a sign pronouncing "There it is!" The sign said this was the perfect vantage point for being able to see the entire General Sherman, from top to bottom.
|There it is! General Sherman is in the center of the photo, enshrouded in fog.|
|Me and General Sherman.|
General Sherman is a monarch sequoia. As is the case with monarch sequoias, the top of the tree is actually dead, and so it's upward growth has stopped at 275 ft. As long as the tree continues to grow, its trunk thickens, gaining mass.
|A mysterious view, looking up at General Sherman.|
We rode the final few miles to the Lodgepole Visitor's Center to refuel our bicycle engines. Randy rolled up a few minutes later. We debated whether to continue the remaining 800 ft of our climb and begin the descent today, or whether to spend the evening at Lodgepole. Given the thick fog and our frozen digits, we decided to hunker down and share a site with Randy at the Lodgepole Campground.
This is the first time on a tour that I've met another cyclist traveling in the same direction and at roughly the same pace. It was really fun meeting Randy last night at camp and then seeing him again this afternoon. We've talked about ending up at the same campground tomorrow evening as well. That campground is about 60 miles away.
|Our camp tonight, with Randy and Alex talking in the distance.|
There's a lovely river roaring next to our campsite. I love falling asleep to the sound of water.
I'm going to fall asleep tonight thinking of cowboys once again. But this time, I'm going to think of John Muir.
John Muir, of course, was instrumental in helping to establish the National Parks, particularly those in the western part of the United States.
I'm going to think of John Muir, all decked out in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. John Muir had exquisite taste when it came to choosing beautiful wilderness, and that's a total turn-on to me.
|The river flowing next to our campsite.|
Good night, folks.