Our Sequoia Backyard
Robert and I have a small cabin in the Sequoia National Park, in a community called Silver City. In fact, our backyard is your backyard too – because our cabin looks out onto the National Park -- which belongs to all of us!
Silver City was first populated by miners, during a late gold rush in the 1800's. Today it is a mountain resort where anyone can visit and enjoy the beauty of Sequoia National Park. However, Silver City feels like home to us because Robert's family has a long, history with this beautiful place.
In the early 1930’s, Robert’s family used to drive cattle up the mountain road to Silver City (elevation 7,000 feet) where the herd would graze on the lush summer grasses, fed by the winter snow melt. His family has owned a cabin here ever since, and Robert spent many happy boyhood days hiking, fishing, and helping his granddad repair the cabin after the harsh winters.
Today we are “inholders” in this small little community called Silver City in Sequoia National Park. Yes, in the middle of this great, big, beautiful pristine forest enclave, we actually own a small piece of property, with a little cabin on it. If you look on a map, we are located in the Mineral King Valley where Walt Disney once tried to build a ski resort. In fact, Disney is the reason that we are “inholders” today. To prevent Disney from building a ski resort in what was then a national forest, Congress attached this remote area to Sequoia National Park, which is why we are surrounded by the national park, and why it is now the view from my kitchen window!
Our cabin is truly remote, it’s almost a 6 hour drive from our Los Angeles home, and the last 90 minutes are up a steep circuitous one lane road that is not for the faint of heart. Yet, despite the arduous journey, we anxiously await the time each year when we can begin to visit our little mountain retreat.
Each time we arrive, we are greeted with the fresh mountain air, the wind in the trees, and the brightest stars, undimmed by the light pollution from the city. We see deer, bears, quail, marmots, squirrels, mountain lions, and this visit we even think we‘ve seen a juvenile condor! (More on that soon.)
Our cabin is so remote that we have no electricity, no cell service, and internet service only if we trek to the little country store that is the hub of the community, and the only retail on the mountain accessible to visitors. That’s where I’m writing this blog today.
The little country store, however, is not really the general store that you might imagine from Little House on the Prairie. The “store,” as we call it, rents out cabins, and has a small diner, but they don’t sell any food or dry goods, so Robert and I always pack in all of our food, carefully planning our meals so that we don’t forget any ingredients. (Ok, really I plan all the meals and pack all the food – but Robert is very invested in the details, and so often wants to know exactly what’s on the menu each trip!)
We use propane for lighting, cooking, and refrigeration. We heat the cabin (all 1000 feet!) with a wood burning stove, and on cool nights it’s very cozy. We are only able to use the cabin from Memorial Day to Labor Day because the road is not plowed, and the cabins become inaccessible. But during the summer, we are outside most of the time, and at night we gather around the campfire in the front yard, where we roast marshmallows, sing, tell stories, and recount hiking adventures from the day.
Mineral King is a trailhead for a multitude of extraordinary hikes, and Robert and I have been coming up here long enough that we have hiked to our share of stunning lakes, and vistas. Even today as we head into retirement, we challenge ourselves to get into the backcountry a couple of times each season. We are always glad we did, and brimming with pride and gratitude that our constitutions still allow it!
And though Robert and I have a special little cabin here in the National Park, this is a place that we all own. So, while we feel blessed to be able to experience this little part of the universe and call it ours, we are also happy to share it with you.
So let me show you some of the amazing sights and sounds from our backyard garden here in the Sequoia National Park: the wildflowers, the creatures, the mountain vistas, and the sounds of the forest. Follow along with us to see the beauty that is Mineral King! We have so much to show you!