Oakhurst, CA

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We spent a few days in Oakhurst, CA, which is north of Fresno, about 17 miles from the south entrance for Yosemite National Park.

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We took some day hikes around Oakhurst and Bass Lake.  We also took one day trip into Yosemite going as far as Wawona.  Sadly the Mariposa grove of giant Sequoias is currently closed for restoration work but we enjoyed the visit to Wawona, home to the Big Trees Lodge.

Next stop:  Yosemite National Park

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Kings Canyon National Park

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Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are closely related with Kings Canyon just to the north of Sequoia.  In fact, if you visit the National Park Service website, the two national parks are grouped together.  Kings Canyon has two parts:  the massive canyon for which it is named and a smaller component on the west face the Sierra Nevada with sequoia groves.

General Grant tree

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Sequoia National Park

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Sequoia National Park is one of our oldest national parks.  It encompasses a vast portion of the Sierra Nevada mountains, approximately 630 square miles, most of which is designated wilderness with no access other than on foot.  It also includes the highest mountain peak in the contiguous 48 states, Mount Whitney.

Sequoia trees across the meadow Continue reading

Piedras Blancas Light Station

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The Piedras Blancas lighthouse was first illuminated on February 15, 1875.  A mere 8 years later a severe earthquake caused some damage about 70 feet up from the  base.  Finally in 1948, after additional earthquakes, the determination was made that the upper three floors had to be removed.  Therefore, the lighthouse stands at 70 feet tall rather than the original 100 feet.  The original Fresnel lens was preserved and is on display in the nearby community of Cambria.

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The lighthouse is located on a very scenic stretch of California coastline 5.5 miles north of San Simeon.  In 2001 the Bureau of Land Management assumed management of the site with the objective to restore the light station to its period of greatest historical significance.  The non-profit Piedras Blancas Light Station Association raises funds and provides volunteer assistance for restoration and maintenance.  They also conduct scheduled tours which provided us the opportunity to tour the site.