Editor's note: In August 2010, Beth Manning and her family spent a week at fivespot. On their departure, I was amazed to find a detailed and personal description of family-friendly spots to visit in Sequoia-Kings Canyon in the guestbook. With Beth's permission, I am posting it and her fantastic photos of Zumwalt Meadow, its bears, and Panorama Point, here for the world to see! And check out her blogs: http://marrymejohnmuir.com (her solo hike on the John Muir trail), http://lickofmylips.com/ (fiction/poetry) and www.prettygoodday.com (life's little things).
AWESOMENESS we recommend (we visited and loved these places, traveling with kids ages 6, 8, 11 and 16):
In/near Grant Grove
Kings Canyon Byway/Cedar Grove
Have fun! And while you're at fivespot, enjoy:
Road construction continues in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. I believe they are replacing a bridge at Halstead Meadow. For fivespot guests, that means the General Sherman tree and trails at Lodgepole will be inaccessible, but the General Grant tree, Hume Lake, Big Baldy, and Big Meadows trails are open and within a 30-minute drive from the cabin. Here's the latest from the Park website:
Generals Highway (Lodgepole to Grant Grove)
Closed on 1/2/2012: From Wuksachi Lodge to Montecito Resort (8 miles south of Hwy 180).
UPDATE: As of Saturday, 1/7: Due to limited snowfall, the road between the parks will be open only on upcoming weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. until measurable snowfall closes the road. After snowfall, the road is expected to be closed through April 1.
So, in brief, while there is no snow, Generals Highway is open on weekends and holidays. As of today (January 10) no snow/rain is expected for at least 7 days (this year's La Niña pattern is holding off any moisture). Hopefully that will change soon, and once it does, Generals Highway will be closed altogether until April 1.
Call the Park to get up-to-the-minute information: (559) 565-3341 (press 1, 1, 1) or (559) 335-2856.
Fivespot now has a Facebook page:
See new and enthusiastic recommendations, and check out the Pages we like: Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Forest, Sequoia Natural History Foundation, etc.
"Like" us, if you like!
Enjoy this fun stop-action movie made by fivespot guests last Christmas. Winter vacations are the best for inventing your own entertainment!
Visit Sequoia - Kings Canyon National Park for free! There are 17 free days in 2011, including National Park Week, April 16-24. National Park Free Entrance Days
That's a great time for driving up from the Valley through spring flowers, then snow-shoeing in sequoia groves. Fivespot is usually snow-free in April, so it's no problem to get around. Come on up!
Pinehurst has finally had a normal wet spring, after 3 years of drought conditions. Garden flowers are blooming, but they haven't had a spectacular showing this year, since spring snows crushed them several weeks in a row. However, wildflowers continue to carpet the green hills with color all the way up to Pinehurst on Highway 180 and Dry Creek Road.
We've been busy taking pictures, especially of the fivespot flowers in front of the cabin. The new banner photo was taken by our friend Elena Keller, who is re-locating to the West Coast from Florida. She is helping us out with spring tasks - including improving the look of the blog with her photography. Enjoy!
In addition to fivespot cabin, Bachrun and I also manage vacation rentals at Badger Creek Development, a large property near Pinehurst in Badger (3000' elevation). Pictured above are a small cabin (for 1 or 2 people) and a large 3-bedroom, 2-bath home that sleeps 9.
Coming soon is an art studio, which can be rented for two weeks up to two months. The Sierras have long been a popular retreat for artists and writers who want to work in and explore this marvelous environment. In fact, Bachrun's art studio is in one of the old buildings on the property.
Badger Creek Development is a 377-acre spread, with scenic rolling hills, a seasonal creek and stocked pond, is home to huge old oak trees, manzanita, pines, meadows, huge boulders, walking paths, deer, wild boar, bear, bobcats, bass, and birds of all sorts.
Previously developed, the property is now owned by architect Reinhard Hesse and a group of investors. It is slated to become a sustainable, energy-efficient community of 170 LEED-certified homes, and commercial and office space. As a partner in the green energy firm Frontier Renewables, Hesse plans to convert an existing airstrip into a 3-megawatt solar PV plant.
So if fivespot is already booked, if your group is large, or you've got pets, you've got options at Badger Creek! It's a great place for kids and dogs to run around, and for bicycling, fishing, bird- and wildlife-watching. See more photos and descriptions on the pages listed in the left sidebar.
Here's a quick tour inside fivespot cabin. It's not big - just 600 square feet - but full of little details that will make you smile and feel right at home. We've made an effort to provide maximum comfort, including wi-fi service, but excluding the television set.
Fivespot cabin is such a place in the California Sierras, art-filled and inspiring. Great for couples or 2 or 3 friends and lots of fun for small families, stay for a week or a weekend. Enjoy the books, the sauna and outdoor shower, the claw-foot bathtub, the fireplace, and piles of pillows and throws.
Feeling creative? Add something to the chalkboard wall, or stroll to the hilltop behind the cabin and sketch the surrounding foothills. Several painters and writers have already used fivespot as a personal artistic retreat - maybe you will be next.
And the main reason to stay at fivespot: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Fivespot is situated in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, and the towering trees are only 15 minutes from the cabin. Awesome Kings Canyon is an hour from the sequoias - a jaw-dropping ride down one of the USA's deepest canyons.
Visit us in this lesser-known (and much less crowded) part of the Sierras. Find yourselves alone on the delightful trails and get back to the cabin for more solitude. Or head on down to the Pinehurst Lodge (a 3-minute walk from fivespot) for a drink and dinner. It's a great alternative to the over-populated Yosemite experience.
We will update this site frequently with news of the area, pictures and videos of hikes we recommend, snow updates, and local chatter.