It was a long drive from San Francisco to Kings Canyon National Park. Much of the time was spent stuck in valley traffic, never matter, I made it to the park at around midnight, in the pitch dark. There really needs to be more signs pointing where to go, I drove around for 10 minutes in the dark before I found the lodge.
Despite getting in and settling down well past midnight, I was up and ready to tackle the day at 6:30. Unfortunately, nothing was open that early, so I researched my day from the room. After breakfast at 7:30 the visitor center still wasn't open, I decided to drive down the road to General Grant Tree. I spent about 30 or 40 minutes walking around that trail and really admiring the gigantic trees. These aren't the first giant sequoias I've seen, but they're surly the most densly populated ones, and some of the larger ones. The trail wasn't hard to follow, even though it was winter, the snow wasn't too densly packed and it was cold enough not to be muddy.
When I made it back to the visitor center I was able to plan my day. Being winter meant that not many trails were easy to access, my best bet was to hike 5 miles round trip up to Panoramic Point. Did I menetion I was hiking uphill, in the snow (only one direction thankfully). In the summer this is a road that you can drive up, in the winter, when I was there it was covered under at least a foot of snow. I'm glad I had a set of microspikes for my boots, that made it incredible easy to climb. Once at the top I was rewarded with an incridible view of Kings Canyon. The air was noticeably cooler up there, andthe snow less packed. I was still able to enjoy the view alone for bit. After awhile, I'm not sure exactly, another group of hikes made it up. We exchanged words for a bit, then I decided to start heading back down and let them enjoy the silence.
Going downhill was less impressive than up, but no less tiring. By the time I made it back to the bottom it was time for a shower and dinner. The sun sets early and it's winter, there's not much to do.