As I left you last time, I gave a bit of a preview of what was to come; namely, a change in plans, sparked by concerns about the wildfires to the east of Yosemite National Park. Curious, however, I didn't completely decide how to handle that issue until the late afternoon on Wednesday (July 18), although I did decide to go to Kings Canyon first, and then possibly still stay in Yosemite that night. This, bear in mind, was just a few days after the Ferguson Fire began, and news of what was going on there was spotty.
Yosemite National Park, off Tioga Road, near Yosemite Valley, a few days later
In any case, I slept as fine as one can on an Amtrak California (hot) bus and (much better) train. I felt only slightly dazed the next morning. The only minor disappointment I had was a change in rental cars. I'd reserved a hybrid car, but the couple who rented it before forgot to turn the keys in. Whoopsie! A $600 error there.
The rental car person at the Fresno airport, where I was renting, was cute and friendly, in any case, and I had a good enough time joking with her, all bright and early, about a past rental car boo-boo, and boo-boos of other customers. And she left me with a less eco-friendly, but probably more mountains-suitable Nissan Rogue SUV. With that, I headed out--not to Yosemite, but Kings Canyon National Park, directly to Fresno's east. I had breakfast, bought water, and headed out.
Some three hours later, past many a fruit stand, and miles of gold foothills and ever-increasing elevation, I passed through the Kings Canyon entrance, and headed toward Zumwalt Meadow, pictured above. First, though, a few pics of the drive in between the western section of the park, and the aforementioned meadow, in the eastern section about an hour away. This was on the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, running through the Sequoia National Forest. You have to pass through this to get to that meadow, before the road ends at, well, "Road's End."