In late May 2017, my cousin Andrew, who had been our fellow adventurer in Death Valley National Park, proposed to his girlfriend, Yesenia. This happy development ensured a fifth return to California for Sean and me in barely two years. At first, we’d assumed that this trip would be separate from any National Park adventures, but then our Chicago friends Charlie and Kevin announced in late 2017 that they were moving to Los Angeles in early 2018. As the wedding plans came together, Andrew and Yesi chose July 6 for their nuptials in San Diego. And as we began to put together a trip that would include some time with Charlie and Kevin in LA and the wedding celebration in San Diego, Sean pointed to the two National Parks in southern California that remained unvisited on the map that hangs in our home office. “Which are those? Can we visit them when we’re in California for Andrew’s wedding?”
The Parks were Sequoia and Kings Canyon in the southern Sierra Nevada. We’d already been to Joshua Tree, Channel Islands, Yosemite, and Pinnacles in California, so the other two Sierra Nevada National Parks had not really been on my radar for anytime soon. I was slightly hesitant to go two a couple of really famous Parks over a holiday, but really as soon as Sean suggested it, I was game.
In January we worked with my parents and my best friend for thirty-two years, Andy, and his partner, Terry, to to find an AirB&B in San Diego to share over the wedding weekend. We arranged with Charlie and Kevin to visit them the weekend before the holiday, and we decided to spend the middle of the week in the mountains of California. It turned out to be a really nice beat for a vacation: three nights in LA, three nights in the mountains, and three nights in San Diego.
Because of the wedding, we decided not to camp and have to bring our gear. I found a cabin AirB&B in Three Rivers, California, the gateway town to Sequoia National Park. We’d arrive on Monday afternoon, spend Tuesday in Sequoia and Wednesday (July 4) in Kings Canyon, and head down to San Diego on Thursday. I even went so far as to book the shuttle from Three Rivers in and out of Sequoia. It felt odd not to be camping, but it also was kind of a lark to experience National Parks a bit differently. In fact, experiencing the Parks in a variety of ways had always been a goal of this adventure.
This was our final itinerary:
Friday, June 29
American Airlines Flight 1029 ORD-LAX 10:15am-12:40pm
With Charlie and Kevin in Los Angeles until Monday.
Monday, July 2
Drive to Three Rivers, California
Check into Kaweah River House
Tuesday, July 3
Sequoia National Park
Wednesday, July 4
Kings Canyon National Park
Thursday, July 5
Drive to San Diego
Check into AirB&B
With Mother and Dad and Andy and Terry until Sunday.
Friday, July 6
Andrew and Yesi’s wedding
Sunday, July 8
American Airlines Flight 2680 SAN-ORD 3:02-9:19pm