First up was the Great Basin. It was a bit out of our way but were told it was a can't miss park due to it's remoteness and scenic beauty. And indeed, it was very remote with absolutely nothing to see along the road except for pastures full of cows and sheep. The park was quite beautiful but the snow levels prevented us from hiking to the summit. Instead we spent out time exploring the Lehman Caves and then continued on down the road.
On the way to our next park, the Mojave Desert, we stopped at a couple of hot springs I had read up on. Sadly, they were closed to the general public.
The Mojave Desert park was pretty barren, with not much to see or do except for the Kelso Dunes which we pulled up next to and called home for the night. In the morning, we headed out to climb the tallest dune which was quite the undertaking. A sandy trail leading straight up, but causing you to slide backwards at the same time. It was a struggle but everyone eventually made it to the top and was rewarded with a great view of the desert.
The giant Sequoias were calling and so we continued on down the road leaving the desert in our rear view mirror. I think I recall seeing some giant trees as a wee lad but am not sure if they were sequoias or redwoods. Regardless, these trees had me absolutely mesmerized. The crowds at these two parks were minimal and the trails were abundant. If time weren't an issue, we could have easily spent quite a few extra days here.
I've always heard great things about Yosemite growing up and never had a chance to visit. I actually came close to working there for a Summer, even submitting an application and having it approved. However, for some reason I joined the Navy instead, forever changing my life's direction. Or did it?
I was disappointed in this park for two reasons. First, the crowds. OMG where did all of these people come from? And its not even peak season yet. Secondly, no overnight boondocking. You either had to stay in a campground of leave the park every night. We met one of the rangers who kindly let us park in front of his house every night during our stay, even allowing us access to his showers and wifi. Matt, we are greatly appreciative of your generosity!
Whew, I think that wraps it up for now. There will be quite a few more National Parks in our immediate future. I think if I had to pick my favorite so far, it would be Sequoia. Yosemite would definitely take the top spot if there weren't so many people messing it up for me.