Sequoia/King’s Canyon National Park and Point Reyes
Here I go asking for help again…. (But I also do a lot of research on my own, and yes, I read all the relevant trip reports)
On a last-minute basis I’m thinking of going to CA for 6 days, starting in LA for literally 1 night to visit some old highschool friends before driving the next morning to Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP for 2 nights and then Point Reyes and the Tennessee Valley / San Francisco area for 2 nights.
So the main species of target here is the bobcat which somehow has eluded me for so many years, but based on trip reports, it’s almost guaranteed in the latter 2 locations.
So my question is really just about Sequoia – where should I stay inside the partk to increase my chances at finding martens, fishers or ringtails? I’m guessing fishers and ringtails are far far from likely, yet I know they do exist in the park. I know wolverines are extinct from the park, so I’m really just after the above 3 species, plus any weasels or the chance for a mountain lion which I saw once, but still haven’t photographed in the wild. Any tips would be extremely appreciated, AND – if anyone wants to join, please let me know! I’m thinking next Friday and Saturday nights at Sequoia then Sunday and Monday around San Francisco. I’d be down to do some night hiking with a nice maglight (I know ‘spotlighting’ from the road is not allowed, but does anyone care if I just hike trails with a flashlight?) or whatever other nocturnal activities that can increase my chances to find the interesting carnivores I’m after. I definitely read about 1 marten + 3 bobcats during 1/2hour drive after dark… That would be a NICE beginning 🙂
Thanks in advance everyone!
You can drive a sedan through Sequoya at any time, just be careful and make sure the tires are in good condition.
Try driving Mineral King Rd. (one way at night and return at dawn or dusk) for all kinds of carnivores. It’s worth trying even if the terminal portion is already closed.
For martins and fishers, forests south of Sequoya NP are a bit better, but it’s still very difficult to find them unless snow conditions are ideal and you can snow track well.
As a guess, you’ll be more productive driving than walking, and as such, Sequoia (being less visited) is marginally better. Yosemite is more likely to have “police”-type rangers on the roads at night also. On the off chance you’re pulled over by officers anywhere, it’s customary to stay in the car with both your hands clearly in view on the steering wheel. Leave your seat belt on too. When the officer approaches — probably backlit by blinding spotlights — only then roll down the windows and produce whatever documentation she or he requests. Assume that they will be courteous, professional … and well-armed. In Yosemite, I have seen ringtail cat across from the large lodge in El Portal just past the entrance station, and, in the main Valley itself, near the swimming pool / mailbox hutch at Yosemite Falls lodge. I have seen marten from the road in Sequoia between Giant Forest Village and Moro Rock. In the 1970s, washing dishes on the night shift at Giant Forest Village, each night I used to have to throw pots and pans at the black bears in order to drive them off of the dumpsters. My now deceased mother used to tell me how as a girl the tourists sat in cars around the open dump, waiting at night for the bears to show up there. Rangers encouraged this. Of course I am old enough to remember the “fire fall” in Yosemite Valley too. Oh those were wild times indeed.
— Charles Hood
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The 3 bobcats and 1 Marten was me, so i guess I have nothing else to add. I’ve only been there once, but I doubt that is typical. My guess is that I was extremely lucky.