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National Parks of the Sierra Nevada: Yosemite, King's Canyon and Sequoia

Program Number: 20197RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/8/2013 - 9/13/2013; 9/7/2014 - 9/12/2014; 10/5/2014 - 10/10/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Oakhurst, California
Price starting at: $998.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Breathe crystal-clear air in an in-depth exploration of all three of these iconic national parks. Enjoy field trips where you’ll experience the major attractions of King’s Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite national parks as you learn about animal life, astronomy, botany, geology, native plants, park issues, and the influence of famed naturalist John Muir.




Highlights

• In Kings Canyon be part of history at Muir's Rock, the place where John Muir frequently addressed the Sierra Club, and visit Roaring River Falls and Zumwalt meadow, which showcase fabulous granite walls.
• In Sequoia, experience Congress Loop to encounter the General Grant Tree, the largest tree by mass in the world, and take in the vast landscape of the Great Western Divide and the San Joaquin Valley.
• In Yosemite, stop at Tunnel View for your breathtaking first glimpse of Half Dome, and stand before natural and man made marvels like El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, Sentinel Bridge and Yosemite Falls.



Activity Particulars

Hikes up to two miles each way. Elevations up to 7,000 feet.




Date Specific Information

9-8-2013, 9-7-2014, 10-5-2014

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Oakhurst, 1 night; coach to Sequoia, 2 nights; coach to Oakhurst, 2 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst.




Oakhurst

With Yosemite National Park and the expansive Sierra Nevada just out the backdoor, Oakhurst is an active community and gateway to the region’s many natural splendors, including fine hiking trails and native wildlife.



Accommodations
Oakhurst: Scenic, forested conference center. Sequoia: Comfortable lodge with Sierra Nevada views.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Shirley Spencer

Shirley Spencer has lived in the Sierra Nevadas since 1979. An educator and seasonal Ranger at Yosemite National Park since 1986, she also instructs at Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Canyonland and Arches national parks. Shirley is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and holds a California State Teaching Credential for secondary and middle school science. In 2009, she published her book, “Flowering Shrubs of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada,” which includes 40 of her original watercolors and scientific descriptions of each plant. An avid hiker, backpacker, skier, kayaker, scuba diver and mountaineer, Shirley teaches rock climbing with her husband Mark. She is also an accomplished watercolor painter, vocalist, guitarist and organic farmer.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
  Oakhurst, CA 1 night
   Montecito Sequoia Lodge
  Kings Canyon National Park 2 nights
   Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
  Oakhurst, CA 2 nights
 Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Type: Conference Center
  Description: ECCO sits on 160 lovely acres forested with oaks, manzanita, incense cedar and ponderosa pine. Our dining room overlooks a pond populated by mallards, egrets, herons--and one mute swan. We are set back from the highway 1 mile , away from traffic and noise. It's a perfect place to reflect, relax and learn. We are at the gateway to Yosemite, only 12 miles from the southern entrance to the park and about 45 miles from Yosemite Valley itself. As you enjoy a walk on our grounds, you may find yourself accompanied by mule deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife.
  Contact info: 43803 Highway 41
Oakhurst, CA 93644 USA
phone: 559-683-8162
web: www.eccoyosemite.org
  Room amenities: Climate-controlled, hair dryers.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  Because we are a conference center, we are not often able to accommodate either early arrivals or late departures.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Because we are a conference center, we are not often able to accommodate either early arrivals or late departures.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

 Montecito Sequoia Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Lodge is at 7,400 ft elevation, surrounded by Sequoia National Forest, and looks out over the Sierra Nevada range.
  Contact info: 63410 Generals Hwy
Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633 USA
phone: 559-565-3388
  Facility amenities: Buffet style meals, large indoor lounge, large outdoor deck, private lake.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrival between 3-5 PM (but not earlier than 2 PM nor later than 6 PM please!) Staff is not available to assist you before or after those times. You will be staying at Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after lunch on the final day. You will be staying at Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Personal Information Form to be completed and returned to site no later than 2 weeks prior to program.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available directly in front of lodge rooms. All rooms have ground-floor entry at Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst (ECCO).
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Oakhurst, CA
  Nearest city or town:  ECCO is 4 miles from the center of Oakhurst.
  Nearest highway: ECCO is set back 1 mile from Hwy 41.
  Nearest airport:  Fresno-Yosemite International
  From End of Program
  Location: Oakhurst, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Fresno, CA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
ECCO
phone: 559-683-8162
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75.00 - subject to change until reservation is confirmed with ECCO
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

50 miles

   

ECCO highly recommends renting a vehicle if at all possible, for free time options. ECCO shuttle is available only on program opening/closing days; maximum capacity is 4 persons. Other private transportation companies are available in our area; call Kristen at 559/683-8162 for names and contact information.

 
Driving Directions
  Eastern Sierra via Tioga Road (Note: Tioga Road is closed from the first snowfall in November through May or June--if you travel close to those dates, call 209/372-0200 for up-to-the-minute road conditions.) From Hwy 395 take Hwy 120 westbound. You will travel through some of the most beautiful parts of Yosemite, dropping down into Yosemite Valley. Watch the signs for Hwy 41 southbound. Take Hwy 41 southbound toward Oakhurst. (It will be 1 to 1-1/2 hours’ driving time from Yosemite Valley.) After exiting the park’s south gate, travel approximately 12 miles. ECCO will be on the left, after the turn to Cedar Valley Road. Watch carefully because the signs are a little hard to see from this direction. Keep an eye out for the Christ Church sign, since we share a parking lot with them. Once you’ve turned into the Christ Church parking lot, follow the signs one mile back to ECCO.
  From Fresno Yosemite International Airport BE AWARE THAT GPS AND ONLINE MAPS WILL USUALLY SEND YOU DOWN THE WRONG DRIVEWAY. FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS PLEASE. From FYI turn left on Clinton Avenue. Cross McKinley Avenue, which becomes Peach Avenue. Turn right at the on-ramp to Fwy 180 headed westbound. Merge onto Hwy 41 northbound (toward Yosemite). Stay on Hwy 41 for approximately 45 miles. You will drop down into a valley where the town of Oakhurst is located. At the traffic signal at the intersection of Hwy 41 and Hwy 49, YOU WILL NOT TURN. This is just for identification purposes. Stay on Hwy 41 approximately 4 miles north of Oakhurst. ECCO is on the right. Our driveway on HWY 41 is just a few feet after you pass Road 632. We share a driveway with Christ Church. On our driveway, continue past the church and a small retirement community. The driveway ends at ECCO.
  From Northern California Take Hwy 99 south. Exit on Hwy 140 east (toward Yosemite). At the intersection with Hwy 49, turn right. Hwy 49 dead ends at Hwy 41 in Oakhurst. Turn left on Hwy 41. ECCO is 4 miles north of the intersection of Hwy 41 & Hwy 49, on the right--the first driveway past the neon sign for Sierra Sky Ranch. Watch for the red and white "Welcome Road Scholar" banner. Turn into the driveway (shared with Christ Church) and follow the signs one mile back to the conference center.
  From San Francisco Airport Take Hwy 101 south to Gilroy. Exit eastbound on Hwy 152 and stay on 152 until it merges southbound with Hwy 99. Exit on Hwy 145. At the end of the offramp turn left. Go over the freeway and turn right. Turn right again on Cleveland Avenue. Continue on Cleveland about a mile to 145. Turn left on 145. Go about 20 miles then turn left on Hwy 41. Once you drop down into Oakhurst ECCO is 4 miles north of the intersection of Hwy 41 & Hwy 49, on the right--the first driveway past the neon sign for Sierra Sky Ranch. Watch for the red and white "Welcome Road Scholar" banner. Turn into the driveway (shared with Christ Church) and follow the signs one mile back to the conference center.
  From Southern California ECCO can be reached by car from Southern California by taking highway 5 north to 99, then take Hwy 41 north toward Yosemite in Fresno. Once you drop down into Oakhurst ECCO is 4 miles north of the intersection of Hwy 41 & Hwy 49, on the right--the first driveway past the neon sign for Sierra Sky Ranch. Watch for the red and white "Welcome Road Scholar" banner. Turn into the driveway (shared with Christ Church) and follow the signs one mile back to the conference center.
Elevation Note: ECCO's elevation is about 3,100 ft. The segment of the program in Sequoia is at 7000' in elevation.

Equipment Requirements: Good comfortable walking/hiking shoes.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome to Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst. We start your program with a 5 p.m. Social with Dinner to follow at 6p.m.
(Sunday, September 8)
   
 Dinner: A social hour begins at 5:00 PM, with dinner at 6:00 PM. Dinner will not be served after 6:30 PM.
 Evening: A short program of introductions and program information follows dinner. The rest of the evening is left free for you to relax and recover from your day's journey.
   
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Depart for Sequoia & Kings Canyon. 1st stop is the General Grant Tree for a walk & lunch. We will then hike to Tokopah Falls(1.7miles each way). Arrive at Montecito Sequioia Lodge in time lounge on deck that overlooks the Sierra Nevadas. After dinner we will do some star gazing.
(Monday, September 9)
   
 Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. Breakfast in Lyles Dining Hall
 Morning: We begin with a our trip to Kings Canyon and Sequoia. We will discuss and explore the 7 botanical zones of Kings Canyon. You will have opportunity to compare and contrast the three parks. In addition, we will discuss the history's of the three parks.
 Lunch: 12 noon - We will have lunch at the General Grant Tree
 Afternoon: 1:00 p.m. We will talk about the "Floral Life Zones of the Sierra Nevada" as we explore Kings Canyon. Possible destinations include Muir's Rock and Zumwalt Meadow.
 Dinner: 6:00 p.m. Dinner at Montecito Sequoia Lodge
 Evening: Evening program - Astronomy- we will use both telescopes and the naked eye to discuss and identify the stars. The air very clear at 7000' elevation.
   
Accommodations: Montecito Sequoia Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trip - Sequoia National Park will be our exploration for the day. We will visit the General Sherman Tree, believed to the largest tree in the world.
(Tuesday, September 10)
   
 Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. - Breakfast will be at Montecito Sequoia Lodge.
 Morning: Depart for the field trip to Round Meadow and the Grove museum.
 Lunch: 12:00 noon Enjoy a sack lunch at the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.
 Afternoon: Spend the rest of the day exploring the Congress Loop, including the President Tree, the Senate Group, The House, and they Sequoyah Tree.
 Dinner: 6:00 p.m. Dinner at Montecito Sequoia Lodge
 Evening: Live Birds of Prey presentation with Diane Gannar of Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation.
   
Accommodations: Montecito Sequoia Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Today we will depart Sequoia/Kings Canyon and return to ECCO. After lunch we will depart for afternoon exploration of Mariposa Grove.We will walk up to 4 miles as we explore the various Sequoias as we learn the history of the preservation of the grove.
(Wednesday, September 11)
   
 Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. Breakfast at Montecito Sequoia Lodge before we depart for Yosemite
 Morning: 8:00 a.m. We will depart for ECCO.
 Lunch: 12 noon Lunch in Lyles Dining Hall
 Afternoon: In the afternoon we'll go to Yosemite's Glacier Point and experience this historic view in much the same fashion as the pioneers. Get ready for a presentation on John Muir at the Glacier Point amphitheater.
 Dinner: We'll take boxed lunches from ECCO and eat dinner at Glacier Point as we watch the sun set on Yosemite Valley
 Evening: Enjoy an evening with John Muir as presented by Frank Helling. Around 7:00 PM we'll head back to ECCO.
   
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point will be the highlights of the day. Bring the camera and some good walking shoes another great day of exploration.
(Thursday, September 12)
   
 Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. Breakfast in Lyles Dining Hall
 Morning: 7:45 a.m. Board bus for Yosemite National Park (exact destination to be determined, depending on weather conditions); 8:00 a.m. Bus departs for Yosemite.This will be a big day with a first stop at Tunnelview. This is one of the most photographed places on earth. We will then continue on to Bridalveil Fall, the Ahwahnee Hotel, and Yosemite Valley Visitors Center.
 Lunch: 12 noon Sack lunch in the park
 Afternoon: After lunch and tour of the famed Ahwahnee hotel, enjoy free time in Yosemite Valley. Catch the free Valley shuttle and explore Yosemite Falls, Ansel Adams Gallery, the Native American Museum, and a host of other attractions.
 Dinner: 6:00 p.m.(this will depend on the time of our return) Dinner in Lyles Dining Hall
 Evening: We'll enjoy an relaxing evening program presented by local talent
   
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Present day issues of the national parks. This discussion will discuss the National Parks challenge of providing access while trying to preserve it for future generations.
(Friday, September 13)
   
 Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. Breakfast in Lyles Dining Hall
 Morning: 9:00 a.m. Class - We'll discuss a myriad of topics such as birds and animals of the Sierra Nevada and present-day national park issues.
 Lunch: 11:30 a.m. Farewell lunch in Lyles Dining Hall
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Oakhurst, CA Antiques & Galleries
Browse antique stores and art galleries (10 to 15 minutes from ECCO)
  Bass Lake
Fish or swim in Bass Lake (a 15-minute drive)
  California Mining & Mineral Museum
In Mariposa, about 30 minutes from Oakhurst. One of the finest gem and mineral museums in the country.
  Glacier Point
Glacier Point is a view of Yosemite not to be missed, and, except on rare occasions, we can't take you there. (Large buses are not permitted.) The drive is one and a half hours each way but well worth the effort. For additional information, visit www.nps.org/yose
  Golf
Golf in Oakhurst (15 minutes)
  Mariposa History Center
In Mariposa, 30 minutes from Oakhurst. This is a marvelous exploration of central California's early years.
  Nelder Grove
About 7 miles from ECCO, this is your opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with some ancient giant sequoias. Shadow of the Giants is an easy one-mile walking trail.
  Sierra Mono Museum
In North Fork, 30 minutes from Oakhurst. This Indian-owned and operated museum features one of the finest collections of Indian basketry around.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Flowering Shrubs of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada.


Author: Spencer, Shirley.


Description: While the trees of Yosemite thrill visitors and the wildflowers often steal the show, every year the blue elderberry, the snowberry, the American dogwood, and dozens of other shrubs bloom in a glory all their own. This lovely volume, with inspired watercolors showing the fruit, flowers, and foliage of the plants, pays these shrubs full homage. Complete with useful information for plant identification, this book serves as a welcome and needed introduction to some of Yosemite's wildflowers.



High Odyssey: The First Solo Winter Assault of Mt. Whitney and the Muir Trail Area.


Author: Rose, Gene.


Description: Anyone who loves mountains, and especially the Sierra Nevada, will find this a great addition to the library. It documents the little known winter solo ski trip over the entire John Muir trail, from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite, by Orland Bartholemew in 1928-29. The author expertly crafts the story from old notes and a diary.



My First Summer in the Sierra


Author: Muir, John.


Description: The first of John Muir's books. This inspirational book allows the reader to understand John Muir's desire to protect and preserve Yosemite.



The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park.


Author: Huber, N. King.


Description: Geologic History of Yosemite



. Gloryland: A Novel.


Author: Johnson, Shelton


Description: This books is roughly based on the life of his great-grandfather who was a buffalo soldier and one of those who patrolled Yosemite NP around the turn of the century to protect it from poachers, loggers, miners, etc. Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of African and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave, but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Shelton Johnson is an interpretive ranger for Yosemite National Park. His area of expertise is the Buffalo Soldiers and their influence on the early history of Yosemite and the west.



A Sierra Club Naturalist’s Guide to the Sierra Nevada.


Author: Whitney, Stephen


Description: . Stephen Whitney has taken most of the University of California Press guides and books and done an excellent job of condensing a wide range of biotic and abiotic topics. I highly recommend this guide to anyone interested in the Sierra Nevada, whether a teacher, backpacker, student, or amateur naturalist.



An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park


Author: Botti, Stephen J


Description: An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park. El Portal, California:



The Wild Muir: Twenty-two of John Muir’s Greatest Adventures.


Author: Muir, John.


Description: Short stories from John Muir that creates an understanding of John Muir.





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