Day Hike – North Road and Summit Trail

Road Junciton

April 4, 2015 – Photo Album

It was going to be a relatively easy day hike up in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Only 3 miles total, but it was a chance to warm up my shoulders and back for summer trips as well as spending family time outdoors. Snow was nowhere to be seen on the roads. Temperature high for the day was in the mid 50’s, so perfect for getting outside. I invited my dad to go along with us and he wanted to go. Our trip would begin Saturday morning.

We woke up at 6 AM. Jaden didn’t know he was going on an adventure with mom, dad, and granddad in the mountains. After breakfast we told him and he seemed rather excited about it. Our gear was soon assembled, everyone was dressed and we were all loaded up in the car by 8:05 AM. My dad arrived at 7:50 AM, so he had to wait a few minutes. We then proceeded up the mountain and the very windy road. It took us 1.5 hours to get to our destination.

Out destination for the vehicles was along Forest Service road 21S50. The road is commonly known by locals as “The North Road.” The gate was supposed to be closed, but we found it wide open. I didn’t see any retraction on the Forest Service road closure letter, so we parked where I had planned and walked up the road. First though, we all bundled up as it was 41 degrees out. Jaden was loaded into the backpack and then onto my shoulders. Our adventure begin just before 10 AM.

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The began on a paved road. It was a very casual pace and nobody was rushing. We snacked on a few Cliff Bars, which are Jaden’s favorite, and talked away. Jaden kept talking about anything that came to mind. Besides the scenery around us, he recited portions of books, TV shows, scripture, and songs. I told my dad you never had to worry about not making enough noise to alert wildlife you were coming. You just needed to have Jaden around. We all laughed shortly after as Jaden was still chatting away. We even saw a small patch of snow on the side of the road.

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After hiking about 2 miles along the paved road, we decided to jump onto the Summit Trail and make our way back. Some new scenery and being on a trail sounded a lot better than a paved road. I noted a few signs and spots for trail maintenance on our way back, but we ended up taking a break in Coffee Mill Meadow.

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A normal year you could not walk any of this area without being in almost a foot of snow. However, with the severe drought for another year in a row, we were able to walk this place just fine. What was really sad was the meadow was not flowing any water. The water use see in the photo is standing water frozen in place. Outside of the shake the meadow is dry and, the crazy thing is this meadow is at the headwaters of some of the streams and rivers. Anyway, it was time for a 10 to 15 minute break and everyone welcomed it. Jaden welcomed the idea of getting out of the backpack. He soon was walking around in the meadow, checking out small flowers, sticks, cow pies, and more. There was a small patch of snow on the other side of the meadow, so we decided to head that direction.

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The snow was very hard as it was mostly ice. Jaden picked up a stick and was “testing” the snow by beating on it. He was having a great time doing so and we eventually made our way back to our day packs. Jaden didn’t have an issue loading up and began chatting again as we proceeded back to the vehicles. We met a small truck with a large camper attached. Nobody around to say hi to so we continued on. We arrived back at our vehicles and decided to eat some lunch.

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My dad had some chairs in his truck, so we set them both up. Lunch was PB&J with apples and energy bars. Jaden enjoyed checking out the pine cones in addition to eating his meal. We chatted about different subjects and just enjoyed being outside longer. The air was crisp and clean. The sky was a deep blue for a change. We made our way back down at noon and Jaden fell asleep along the way. We were home at 1:30 PM.

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