I awoke frozen to the
interior of the car on the top of the Sequoia/
I stopped at
At the end of the line I got out and marveled at the canyon walls. It was about 7:30am and the valley floor was coming to life.
Not sure if you can see by enlarging the below shot but there is some deer chillin' in the meadow below. One of the most peaceful spots along the journey.
As with most of my travels I
visited these parks in relatively early season so there was very few visitors
to make you feel like you were touring
I came out of a tunnel and stopped at a parking lot that was jammed, and walked to a scenic overlook and was floored by the sight in front of me. I could not believe I was looking at something natural. It was one of those moments where everyone near you immediately becomes your best friend and you begin sharing your thoughts and emotions. If only you could have this feeling every moment of every day as you see both Earth and Man's beauty surrounding us. Not too long before heading out on this trip I watched the Ken Burns special on the national park
I remember him describing how Jon Muir came upon this valley and instantly fell in love and knew he had to save it. I could only imagine his feelings at that moment, but seeing the pictures below I understood now how he could be so driven by just a view from a cliff.
On the image below, which is
similar to the one above, you can see the sheer face of
In the below shot, if you look close you can see a mother brown bear playing with her cub. I was still in my car so felt no danger even though she could easily have swallowed me and the car whole with no problem.
I parked the car at the visitor’s center, grabbed a backcountry hiking permit, some postcards and got familiar with the shuttle route and possible day hikes
I had planned a rather
difficult hike for the day. It was a hike up
Below is nice few shots of half dome about halfway up the canyon wall
I am normally not a competitive person happy to lose if it keeps the peace, or because I just suck at whatever I am doing, golf is a great example of my lack of skill. Anyway, when it comes to hiking up a mountain I take on a different nature, it is not so much competition with other hikers but with myself. I do not want anyone to pass me, not that I am physically going to elbow someone but it means that when I come up to some people resting on a turn I will press on even if in pain because I need to create some distance before they begin again and have a chance of making it interesting. So I was proud when I got to the top in 2 hours and failed to get lapped. As you can see there was plenty of snow on top. Kinda a weird feeling when you start the hike in 75 degrees and end trudging through snow.
Below are some of my favorites from the top. It was kinda funny as about halfway I came face to face with the waterfall and figured well that was not so bad, it cant go up any more as I am at the waterfall and it is a sheer face. Then you see this tight little trial up the side and throw out a few expletives and move on. I like to grab a shot of myself at the top, not only for my narcissistic tendencies but also to preserve how exhausted I felt and can look back and relive it.
On the way down I saw the below bird. I had to look it up. It is a Stellar Jay.
I thought it was pretty cool as it resembled an evil twin of the Blue Jay we have roaming back through MI, who really don’t need an evil twin as they are plenty evil to begin with. I was going way too fast and made it down in 1 hour. I deserved to roll my ankle about 3 times as I was a whirling ball of organized chaos as I stumbled and bumbled along the trail. I ended up completing the trail in 3 hours, 2 hours short of the recommended 5 hrs. This is not really a bragging point as trails are meant to be enjoyed not rushed through, but I only seem to have one speed at times. At the bottom I shot a couple more pictures and then went to my backcountry parking
They wanted me to park in one
spot then take a shuttle across the park to camp somewhere else. I decided that
without a tent I did not want to wake up at 2am and start freezing with no
place to go. I opted to sleep in the car till 4am and then hit the road for a
long day of driving over to the coast for Big Sur and