Day 2 — Exploring the Park’s Core

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To start the day, I drove back to the Giant Forest and up the spur road to Moro Rock (which you can see in the pictures fromj Amphitheater Point on day 1).  A 350-stairway and path provides access to the top of the rock. From the top (and also a points along the way, the view stretches from the Great Western Divide in the east to the San Joaquin Valley to the west. The top of the rock is at 6725 feet above sea level while the peaks in the distance top out at 12,000 to 13,ooo feetand shield views of the Kern River drainage and the High Sieera crest further east. Pictures from the climb of the rock are here.

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I continued along the road to its end at Crescent Meadow. Crescent Meadow is the trailhead for the High Sierra Trail which ends 60 miles later at Mt. Whitney, but my ambitions were much more limited: to hike to Tharp’s log, returning via the west side of Crescent Meadow. That I did, encountering a woodpecker along the way. Pictures are here.

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I returned to the museum and ate a sandwich that had been packed at the lodge. Afterwards, I joined a ranger-led walk on the Big Trees trail around Round Meadow. A highlight of the walk was encountering a black bear and her two very agile cubs (video clip above). After the walk, I returned to the lodge and observed a great sunset from my room. Pictures? Of course.

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