This summer we finally managed to get reservations at Sequoia High Sierra Camp. Glamping in Sequoia National Park had been high on my list for several years, but the camp books up very quickly as the season is short and the demand high. Sequoia High Sierra Camp is located at 8,200 feet in the northern part of Sequoia National Park, California.
Into the wilderness we go
After entering Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park, we soon find the left turn onto Big Meadows Horse Corral road that leads towards our camp. After a bumpy ride on a road full of rocks and potholes, we arrive at the Marvin Trail head parking lot. This is where the drive ends and the hike to our camp begins. We park, change into our hiking boots, stuff everything into our backpacks and sign into the log to register us for entering the back country of Jennie Lake Wilderness.
The first half mile is steep and we realize that the combination of altitude, 7,500 feet, the sun and the incline is a killer combination. We have to stop several times to catch our breath. The trail turns into a little stream, so we hike through the water while admiring the unusual plants and flowers. We are wondering if we are on the right track, but soon we see another little sign that say “SHSC”. Soon after we see an American flag and a sign that says “reception”. We have arrived for our a couple of days glamping in Sequoia National Park!
Glamping not camping
We are welcomed by Robert with glasses of cold water and fresh baked cookies. Dmitry, the summer help, shows us the campground, the dining room, the “Sequoia Shop” (with the sign that says “always open”), the showers and finally after another hike up a hill, our tent. This is more like a canvas cabin than a tent: spacious, luxurious with a real front door and beds.
Happy hour and three course mealsWe unpack and the rest of the afternoon we are happy lazing around in the lounge chairs. We read, plan our hike for the next day and enjoy the views over the High Sierras. Just before 6 our host Susanne comes over to offer us pre dinner drinks. At 6.30 we are invited to join for dinner and we meet the other guests. We realize that there are only 6 of us that night and all women. Three groups of two friends, that have been traveling and hiking together for years. Over a lovely dinner of ahi tuna, soup, salad and fish with pasta we share and compare travel stories. We enjoy a stunning sunset, while finishing our meal with a delicious lemon tart. We have a cup of tea by the fire, before we retire to our tents as hikes are waiting in the morning.
Hiking towards 10,000 feet
After a good night and an early breakfast, we pack a lunch from the great selection of breads, meats, cheeses, fruits and homemade banana bread and we are off. A gentle hike through the woods brings us to a set of switchbacks that will lead us to the top of Marvin Pass. Although only an incline of approximately 2,000 feet, we are still not used to the altitude and short of breath quickly. Huffing and puffing we reach the top, which is at an altitude of over 10,000 feet. The trail levels out and meanders past several beautiful meadows. The only negative of hiking in this areas is the mosquitos. They like the meadows as much as we do and are out in droves, ready to attack any piece of uncovered (and covered skin).
Meadows, streams and silence
We pass the split towards Seville lake and decide we leave that trail for next time, when we are more acclimatize to the altitude. Seville lake is a 12 mile hike, so instead we continue to Rowell meadow. From Rowell Meadow we turn back and take a side trail towards Mitchells Peak. We stop for lunch and then we return to our camp. The whole time hiking the only other people we have seen our two of our fellow guest. When we reach our camp, we have done a respectable eight miles and feel we deserve our shower and a glass of wine
That night more people have arrived and we enjoy another wonderful three course meal, good wines and conversations. The next morning we pack our packs, hike back to the car as unfortunately we have to get back to reality. On our way out of the park, we stop to admire General Sherman, one of the largest redwoods in the world. These redwoods are impressive, but we don’t enjoy the large crowds of tourists. We prefer the solitude of Jennie Lake Wilderness and we agree that we have to come back and stay longer so we can hike Mitchell’s Peak and Lake Seville.