Slow down for wildlife! We are visitors to their natural habitat so it is our responsibility to be gracious guests and slow down for wildlife.
We did see dear, coyote, and other animals.....but the bears must have been hiding out in the woods.
Upon entering the Lodgepole campground we were given a bright pink leaflet advising all campers to be cautious of bears for this was a very active bear area. be sure to store all food and scented items in bear proof lockers which are located at each campsite. Don't store food items in your car unless you want a large bear to break into your vehicle...it happens all the time.
Camping with babies is ok....just be sure to store your baby car seat and stroller out in the open and all baby food should go into the bear proof locker.
The first pass developed by the US Army is here. You can save 700 feet and maybe about one mile in using this older pass from Lake #4. Don't. The 'new' trail was made for good reason - the old trail is packed with snow for most of the summer and is subject to nasty rockfall. The trail can be very dicy up high just below the Pass. Use New Army Pass.
In parts of Sequoia National Park (mainly Mineral King Valley), marmots who awake from their winter hibernation in late spring and early summer will feed on the radiator hoses of cars to get necessary minerals. So watch out for your car, and try to get chicken wire or something along those lines to protect your car from biting marmots.
Keep your food locked up. There are lot's of cute Dorito eating Bears in the Park. Lock it or lose it! They are cute, sneaky and smart :) They are almost always harmless...they just want your food :) Making noise will likely get the boogers to move on to the next snack area.
Hwy 198 is a steep, twisting, two-lane road that can be very narrow in places as it climbs to Giant Forest from the gate at Ash Mountain. The altitude change is nearly 5000 feet, with steep curves and switchbacks. It can be slow going. If traffic starts to back up behind you, PLEASE be courteous and use one of the turnouts to let the traffic behind you pass.
Don't pull over into dry grass on the side of the road as this could start a fire. The foothills are very dry in the summer months.
There are a few spots along the way with non-drinkable water in case your car overheats, but if you have doubts about your car, carry extra water.
Driving down, pay attention to your car's brakes. It's steep, and brakes can heat up quickly. Downshift. Watch your speed.
Get carsick? You may want to pack some Dramamine or other motion-sickness medication.
Give yourself plenty of time to make the drive, and a full tank of gas. There is NO gas for sale in Sequoia Natl. Park.
If you intend to climb Moro Rock, use caution. You will see signs warning you to head back to your car if any of the following conditions exist:
-Static electricity in your hair or fingertips
-Hissing in the air
-Thunder, rain or hail
-Dark clouds nearby or overhead
This isn't meant to be funny. Read them, be aware, and enjoy the climb. The view on a clear day is amazingly beautiful. I've climbed it many times without incident, but the threat of a lightning strike is real.
In Mineral King, parking lots and cabins were built in an area occupied by marmots, creating attractants for their desire for cover and new opportunities for their chewing habits and quest for minerals. During the spring, the marmots regularly take apart the under-side of numerous vehicles to go after anti-freeze. The result is disabled vehicles, cabins with holes chewed through them, and marmots consuming potentially harmful chemicals. After extensive monitoring, biologists found that in a single year, several hundred marmots have been involved. Some marmots have even exited the park when vehicles were driven away with an unsuspecting marmot hidden under the hood. The distance record to date is when one marmot caught a ride to Santa Monica, CA. The current solution to the problem is chicken wire around vehicles in the spring - another alternative would be to eliminate the parking lot.
If you are going on a day hike, do not leave any food or scented , non food items in your car. The bears will get to it. The park has special lockers where you park and you can store them there. Check out the website below and read up.
Watch out for bears. Keep making noise along the trail so you don't startle them.
Don't approach a bear. Make noise and yell at the bear. Don't run away.
Keep your food locked up in the areas provided.
These mountains and forests cover a lot of area. When I say peace and quiet I mean it.
Take a compass, GPS or pictures as you go so you can navigate through the woods.
I can see how people could get lost if they went too far off the main trails.
Gasoline is NOT sold within park boundaries. Be sure to fill up in one of the towns near the park entrance or at two locations in neighboring national forest areas -- Hume Lake (year-round) and Kings Canyon Lodge (closed in winter).
Certain roads in Sequoia National Park are so narrow, steep and winding that there are length limits on the vehicles that can be driven. On the General's Highway, vehicles over 40 feet long are not permitted by law. RVs are not recommended on Mineral King Road, Moro Rock/Cresent Meadow Road or Crystal Cave Road, where the maximum vehicle length is 22 feet.
Everyone needs to do their part to keep food from the bears. I don't know exactly how it is in Sequoia, but in Yosemite, there are 500-1000 incidents of bears breaking into cars every year!
The park provides bear-proof metal cabinets at many of the parking areas for any scented items within your car. Don't forget to take trash out of your car, too.
Save your car and save the bears! If bears become too friendly, they may need to be destroyed.
Check out Sequoia's page on bear management. http://www.nps.gov/seki/snrm/wildlife/bear_overview.htm
Okay, I admit it, I love the snow, LOL. I was supposed to be on a summer vacation, and it looked like summer in the morning... so I can't help it that I am wearing a miniskirt and sandels, now can I? hahaha, but the sight of snow I just couldn't stand the temptation and I had to throw a snowball. Yes.... it was cold on my feet, all the snow creeping in my shoes, but it was fun!!!
Bears form a real threat to objects that hide food (or anything that smells like food. Visitors to the National Park are warned with leaflets and in the visitorcentre one can see on pictures what happens if you neglect these warnings. Cars crushed by the wait of a bear that smelled something inside. By the way ... the bears must be realy hungry ... when you look at all the articles on the warninglist (attached).