On Day 5 we said goodbye to San Francisco and hello to the start of a journey to 2 National Parks.
We checked out of our hotel and headed over to City Rent a Car. Their location was a couple miles from our hotel so we got over the pretty quickly. We definitely recommend using them for your car rental needs. The guys at the front desk were super nice and another bonus is that you can return your car after hours. That was a major selling point for us considering that places like Enterprise did not offer that option.
So, we headed out in our Nissan Sentra and were able to easily navigate ourselves across the Oakland Bridge. Since it was around 8:30am we thought we might hit morning traffic, but nope. It was quick and easy!
And so began our long drive to Sequoia National Park! We skipped breakfast this morning (oops) so we decided lunch at 11:30am wasn’t too early. Andrew had never been to In-N-Out so that’s where we decided to eat.
We both got the double-double with Animal Style fries. This was my second time eating there and I still don’t fully understand the hype? Don’t get me wrong. I definitely enjoyed my meal, but west coast people always talk about In-N-Out like it’s the best food EVER. Perhaps their love for this place is similar to east coast people’s love for Shake Shack? Anyways, I did enjoy my lunch. Promise!
From there we kept trekking to Sequoia. We made it to the entrance gate around 1:30pm or so. Unfortunately, nobody told us it would still be another 1 hour drive to the parking lot in the Giant Forest. You ascend something like 3,000 feet and it’s switchbacks the whole time. So needless to say, the speed limit was low and slow.
BUT, we eventually rounded a corner and then the big trees began:
At this point, my excitement level started to grow! You may not think seeing big trees is something to get excited about, BUT IT IS! These trees were magnificent, and things were only just getting started!
We eventually parked the car and hopped a shuttle bus to see General Sherman – the largest tree by volume in the WORLD. Seriously, it was incredible.
How can I describe the wonder of this tree with words when I can’t even fit the whole thing in a photo?!
We spent a couple hours just hanging out and wandering around through the trees. I had hoped to also do the Moro Rock hike because it is also incredible I’ve heard, but we just didn’t have the time. We still had a 2.5 hour drive to our AirBnB for our trip to Yosemite the next day, so our time was crunched.
In hindsight, we should’ve probably skipped Sequoia. We didn’t give it the appropriate amount of time it deserved and it made for a lot of car time while on vacation. On the other hand though, I am still thankful for even a small amount of time to gaze at these skyscrapers called trees.
Like I said, once we left Sequoia we still had a long drive ahead of us. We didn’t make it to our AirBnB until around 8pm. At that point we still needed to go back out for gas and dinner.
Our AirBnB was absolutely incredible though. We stayed with Christine who is 73 years old. She is climbing a 14,000 foot mountain in September, but it”s casual. WHO AM I KIDDING?! It’s incredible. She’s incredible. What am I doing with my life?!
Well anyways, if you plan on going to Yosemite, stay with her. I cannot recommend her home enough. Click HERE for her AirBnB listing. She makes you breakfast each day of your stay and it is legit. Pancakes. Waffles. Eggs. Hashbrowns. Bagels. The list goes on and on. Plus, she also stocks your room with drinks and snacks galore! It was heaven.
I digress though. Once we settled in, Christine gave us directions to the gas station and the town of Mariposa. We ended up eating at Burger King because we wanted something fast and simple. The town was quaint, but it was a 30 minute drive from where we were staying.
We got back around 9pm and were in bed by 9:30pm or so. Our next day would involve conquering the Yosemite Valley and we had an early start to the day to get ready for!