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We woke up to a bright, cool morning at our makeshift campsite in the parking lot of Lodgepole Campground in Sequoia National Park. When we pulled in the evening before, all the campsites had been taken so we ended up in the parking lot with lots of other campers. We got up and out early as we did not want the ranger to come around and charge us for our “campsite.”

We packed up and headed to King’s Canyon National Park which is adjacent to Sequoia National Park. King’s Canyon is home to the General Grant Tree which is the second largest tree in the world by volume. Aside from the General Grant Tree, we enjoyed hiking in Grant Grove and viewing the “Fallen Monarch”, a hollow, downed sequoia that was big enough that soldiers and their horses were once quartered there. These trees are amazing and truly have to be seen to be believed.

After hiking in the forest, we took a drive out to Hume Lake in Sequoia National Forest. It was a gorgeous, sunny autumn day, and the scenery was spectacular. When we arrived at the lake, we enjoyed taking photos of the sun sparkling on the water and the ducks swimming. We also chatted with a young man that was visiting from Sweden. We put it on our list of places to come back to and camp someday. That list is getting very long!

As we drove back towards the park, we noticed a camper broken down on the side of the road. We stopped to see if we could help. The owners were a European couple, but we don’t recall which country they said they were from. Despite the language barrier, the husband managed to convey to Francis that it was a problem with the clutch. None of us had phone service in the forest so we could not call for help. We promised to alert the rangers at the nearest visitor center so they could provide assistance and headed off. When we got to the visitor center, we gave the ranger the approximate location where the couple was stranded. With our good deed done for the day, it was time for us to get back on the road and find our next stop.

Our goal was to drive south and find a nice place to spend the night. Francis noticed that the GPS was taking us through Fresno, California before taking us south. We don’t like driving through cities so we decided to make our own route. Using the map from the GPS, Francis plotted out a new route. The drive started as a nice county drive but soon became complicated. Some of the roads were closed and some had signs of private property, no trespassing. We kept having to make new routes and it just kept getting more and more complicated. We even ended up on a dirt road which didn’t seem too bad as we drove by cattle. That was until we noticed a sign stating Property of California Corrections Facility, No Trespassing! Long story short, we finally made it out of the area to a major highway heading south.

After our frustrating circular drive that I think actually took us backward, we were really ready to settle for the night. An internet search helped me find Leavis Flats Campground in Hot Springs, CA. The pictures looked nice and it was only $10 a night which is a great deal for a California campground. When we arrived at the campground, a large group of firefighters was there. They were there due to a high level of fire danger in the area because of the dry conditions but were just finishing up for the day. Once they left, we snagged the prettiest site in the small campground, right by the river. There was only one other family on the other side of the campground so we had plenty of space to ourselves.