Sequoia National Park is just a five hour drive from our home base in Oceanside. The park is home to the giant sequoia, the most massive trees on the planet. The Sequoia National Park sign at the Ash entrance was carved in 1935 out of a slab of fallen giant sequoia. It was meant to honor Sequoyah, a Cherokee scholar who invented an alphabet for his language which brought advances to literacy. Although there is some controversy over the Native American person not representing the appearance of the people who inhabited the area, there are no current plans to remove it.
For the next four nights (our tent camping record with a toddler in tow) we will be calling Potwisha campground home. This is our first time camping at Sequoia National Park, but our decision to camp at this campground was easy; it is the only one open in the park at this time. The campground is located in the foothills at 2,000 feet elevation, versus the 4,000-8,000 feet where the giant sequoias grow. The higher elevation campgrounds are limited to warmer months, when there is not snow on the ground and roads don’t run the risk of closing as snow storms roll through the mountains.
Camping at Potwisha is easy. During the spring months, the campground is lush and green, and the sound of the roaring Marble Fork Kaweah River dampens the sounds of nearby campers. There are flushable toilets and potable water. And, in case of an emergency, since there is no cell phone service, there is a functioning payphone.
There are highly intelligent black bears that live in the Sierras so campers must keep all food and everything that touches food or smells like food in a provided bear box. We learned there has only been one bear sighting this season, up at Moro Rock (at almost 7,000 foot elevation), but there are other campground critters that are constantly on the lookout for prepackaged food, so locking it up is good practice regardless.