THE BLUSTERY DAY. As the snow continued to fall, we realized our plans for the day had slowly drifted away, much like the snowflakes we were witnessing making their listless trek to the white ground below. National Park solution #1: Visitor Center! Yeehaw! A roof, heated rooms, a movie, warm bathrooms with hot running water, etc. etc. Off we went. We took in a 20 minute movie about Kings Canyon with the three teenage boys reading the last word of every subtitle. Did my homeschooling-mama-heart good. I taught those youngsters to read when they were wild, little, dirty whippersnappers.
The ten of us wandered the displays, felt the sharp blades of the 20 foot saw that was once used on the mammoth Sequoia trees, looked into bird nests, examined various sized pine cones and felt the bark of the enormous trees. Much to our surprise, there was a beautiful educational room at the back of the center that we inhabited for several hours. Our art boxes were brought in from the cars and we homeschooled in our socks in the shadows of three enormous paintings of the life zones we had studied. Perfect!
Each of the wall murals was abounding in animals and plants of each zone. The kids had made diorama boxes of these exact scenarios and they recollected many of the flora and fauna.
Postcards were purchased, written, stamped and sent home to various recipients whose addresses we knew by memory. We ate granola bars and cheese sticks. Of course, we also did the booklets for the Jr. Ranger Program! What would a trip to a national park be without doing a word find puzzle??? We learned about backpacking canisters for bear-safe food storage… see the black can?
As the natives got restless, we had wheelbarrow races and then we played charades in teams with National Park dice. No one will ever forget Austin’s portrayal of a space ship complete with noises… because we are all familiar with the sounds made by alien flying saucers.
STUMP MEADOW. After lunch, the snow had turned to rain and then to mist, allowing us to venture out and see a bit of the park. Our first stop was Stump Meadow where hundreds of the BIG trees were harvested in the 1850s. You can’t quite grasp the vastness of this area from a picture, but I offer my feeble attempt.
All eight of our children fit into the fire scar of this big stump with room to spare. We have been reading My Side of the Mountain and the sequel The Far Side of the Mountain about Sam Gribley who, at 15, moved from NYC to the hills and made a giant Hemlock his home. Every time we saw a new BIGGER stump or hollowed-out tree the kids would claim, “This one will be my home!”
One last photo for you which I titled “The Little Colombian and the Giant Tree.” Yes, Nora is standing there at the bottom, but I couldn’t back up far enough to get the top of the tree in the picture. They are BIG.
Please stay tuned for the upcoming episodes of Kings Canyon Camping.
Tags: 6500 feet, banana pancakes, bear box, camping, costco, familiy memories, home school, homeschool, homeschooling, Kings Canyon, making memories, mama, mom, mother, movie, My Side of the mountain, National park, saw blades, showers, Sierra Nevadas, snow, Stump Meadow, teacher, The Far Side of the Mountain, visitor center