|King's Canyon National Park|
Clicky above to see the photos.
King's Canyon National Park, located an hour east of Fresno, CA, is very similar to Yosemite in that both are glacier-carved valleys in the Sierra Nevada. Both are also very beautiful. But where Yosemite fails (crowding and difficulty getting a campsite or backcountry permit), KCNP totally succeeds. We went on Memorial Day weekend and found an excellent car-camping spot. Justine and I went on a 10-mile hike to Mist Falls, and saw almost nobody the whole way. The whole lot of us took a 5+ mile hike through Zumalt Meadow to Roaring Falls and really only saw people at the waterfalls (which you can drive to). It's a really good find for us, since it's also very easy to get to, despite being further south.
King's Canyon also didn't disappoint in the awesome beauty of the Sierras: Racing rivers and waterfalls, huge granite peaks, and of course giant sequoias. I will definitely be back to KCNP... hopefully before the summer is over.
Afterthought: In reading about giant sequoias on Wikipedia, I made it to the "List of Trees," which is really a list of famous/named/record-breaking trees. I was reading down the list of famous trees in Asia and realize that I've seen several of them.
There's the Great Banyon in KolkataThe Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India
The Killing Trees near Phenom Penh, Cambodia
Which brings be back to King's Canyon: When we were driving to KCNP, we stopped at a drug store for snacks. Justine was wearing a t-shirt from Angkor Wat, and the cashier there asked if we'd been there; she really wanted to see the "Lara Croft tree!"
Full circle :D