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Spring arrives in the Sierras, it brings with it the first blooms of wildflowers.
The foothills are awash in an array of colors. Lupine, red-bud, buckeye, and
laurel dot the hillsides so that the landscape appears to be an impressionistic
painting. Wispy fog often rolls through the forest canopy at this time of year,
enveloping the natural beauty of this area with a surreal quality. The air is
so thin and dry that the sky appears almost purple. In the high country, ice
and snow are just beginning to melt, feeding the Kings River so that it surges
through the canyon walls and waterfalls roar and tumble over granite rock. The
meadows, filled with snow runoff, become ponds for a chorus of frogs. The blue-gray
scrub jay, which screeches at anything that moves, and the black-and-brown towhee,
which sings something like "drink your teeee," are found at lower elevations.
If you are lucky, you may glimpse a mule deer feeding at dusk, a gray fox hunting
in the foothills, or possibly a bear lumbering through the forest.
is the busiest time of year in the parks for both people and animals. The National
Park Service offers its most extensive array of programs during this time of
year for adults and children. NPS naturalists offer talks, slide shows, films,
guided nature and history walks, and evening campfire programs. Programs may
range from a Star Talk program, at which you can enjoy the beauty of the Sierra
night sky, to the Sawed Tree Mystery tour of a sequoia that was nearly sawed
completely through a century ago, yet is still alive and growing. You'll find
high-country meadows brimming with vibrant wildflowers and the water of the
parks' many lakes delightfully cool after hiking on a hot day. Be a cowboy or
cowgirl for a day or more and take a horseback ride into the canyon in search
of the parks' more remote natural treasures. While exploring, be on the lookout
for wild animals: bobcats, mountain lions, and coyote, to name a few.
is typically a quiet time in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, yet it is one of the
most beautiful seasons to visit the parks. Fall foliage is vibrantly colorful,
with oak, dogwood, aspen and other trees turning gold, scarlet, and amber. You
will hear chipmunks and ground squirrels chatter, and see them dash across the
forest floor gathering acorns as they prepare for the winter. The days are still
warm during autumn, but the nights are cool. This makes for ideal hiking weather
and you can practically have the trails to yourself. This time of year you can
also try your hand at trout fishing. The season lasts through November 15, but
you'll need a fishing license. After a challenging day of climbing or fishing
you'll enjoy relaxing your feet in front of the fireplace in the John Muir Lodge.
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