I left Phoenix, AZ on April 6, 2019, to head to Kings Canyon National Park where I would be starting a new job as Cash Auditor for 6 months. I found that my friend Chris, who had been living in California near Visalia for a while was still in the area and was heading out soon so I stopped and spent one night at the KOA near Visalia to see her. I had not seen her in about a year so it was good to catch up.
I pulled out of the KOA April 9th with a forecast of snow expected. I called Kings Canyon to get a more accurate weather report…..I was told it was not snowing at the moment and if it did it proably would not stick around. Well, I did not want to have to contend with snow at all in a 34-foot motorhome towing a car. The drive took me almost an hour going from less than 1,000 ft to 6500 ft at Grant Grove Village and all uphill on a two-lane, winding road. The going was slow…..but I finally made it, checked in and was told I could park my RV at the bottom of the small hill to the staff housing called “Wormwood.” There was still about 2 1/2 feet of snow on the ground and it was going to be a couple weeks before the staff campground would be free of snow. So in the meantime, I would be staying in one of the cabins, which turned out to be more rustic than I anticipated but I knew it would be temporary. I got my key to cabin #10….it was a short walk from the parking area. Most of the walk area was clear of snow except for a few patches. There were some clumps of snow on the cabin steps and I knew once the evening came it was going to ice up, so I asked the maintenance guy if there was a shovel and if we could get the snow off the steps to the cabin. He took care of that for me and I got a few things from my RV and brought to my cabin. The cabin was small with two twin beds and two locker units at the end of the one twin bed for clothes and personal items. One of the locker units had the two nightstands stored in it. I did not feel like dragging them out, so I used the other one that did not have to much stuff in it except for a few odds and ends. I got a rag and started wiping and cleaning the locker, and swept the floor. The weather was not to bad during the day, but once the sun started going down it got pretty cold. Each cabin had one heater to use because that is all the breakers could handle, otherwise, the breakers would pop, which did eventually happen a few times over the course of the two and a half weeks I ended up being there. The heater helped somewhat, but it was still pretty cold since the cabins were not insulated at all…..they really were not intended for people to stay in during the winter, but there was only so much housing available. We had a common area not far from my cabin that had a kitchen along with two washers and dryers. On each side of the kitchen area outside were the men and women’s bathrooms and showers….. men to the left and women to the right. In the pictures below I have marked my cabin with an “Orange X” and the kitchen and bathroom building with a “Yellow X”
My first day of work was April 12th, so I had a couple days to get acquainted with things and do a little adventuring. My first outing was an eight-mile drive to Hume Lake and General Grant Tree which I have written about in a different blog post.
Hume Lake beginnings go back to the mid to late 19th century. During the 1800s the United States government began selling federal government land to the public. In 1888, two men, Hiram Smith, and Austin Moore bought thousands of acres of timber for logging the giant redwood trees. They formed the King’s Canyon Lumber Company and began business. After experiencing financial problems, the company was reorganized & renamed the Sanger Lumber Company. By 1905, the Sanger Lumber Company began to decline once again, so the company was sold. Ira Bennett & Thomas Hume then bought the company and land together. Bennette & Hume decided they needed to move the mill operations to be profitable. The mill was moved four miles east to Long Meadow. The water from Long Meadow and Ten Mile Creeks was used to form an artificial body of water, which is now Hume Lake to store & transport the timber. Once again though, the company ran into problems and eventually closed its doors in 1924 because of a lack of profits and a large fire that destroyed over half a million dollars in lumber. The land was sold back to the government and on January 9, 1946, a group of Christian men opened the Hume Lake Christian Camp on 320 acres of lakeshore property.