I've wasted almost an entire morning clicking around (no, seriously, my procrastination and ADD have now gotten so bad that I just spent the last 30 seconds literally clicking back and forth between tabs without actually stopping to look at anything) on the internet, and I have to go to work soon, so I'm going to try to write this blog post in less than twenty minutes. Ready? Go.
On the third day of our three-day journey into Sequoia National Park, I woke up feeling a little sad, because I knew that I would be sleeping in my own bed that night, back amongst the people and the noise. Kalen and I had once again set up our tent in the pitch black darkness, having arrived much later than originally planned, due to Lodgepole Campground being full. No room at the inn, etc. etc. So we drove another thirty minutes or so to a smaller campground, and then went around in circles for several minutes trying to find a good place for us to pitch our tent for the night, somehow being picky about which spot we chose even though it was far too late to matter and we were both utterly exhausted from our day of hiking.
Once we chose a spot and got the tent set up, we crawled inside and crashed, too tired to talk much or figure out a game plan for the next day. And then, just like that, it was morning.
For breakfast, we feasted on grapes and s'mores, toasting the marshmallows over our mini propane stove friend, an art form that can only be mastered after minutes of strenuous experience. I also dined on Cheese Nips, apple sauce, and green tea, otherwise known as the breakfast of champions.
(Side note: I officially did not finish this in time for work, because I kept clicking around uselessly while my photos were loading. Thus, it is now the next day. Ah well, it was an admirable goal.)
Day 3 was touristy day, and I felt good about it. After all, it's not every day you get to see the biggest tree in the world. Unless you're a park ranger. Lucky bastards.
As Kalen and I wandered around the many intersecting trails, occasionally getting lost but always finding our way back to where we wanted to be, I tried to grasp how very much like a fairy tale Giant Forest felt; the sunlight filtering through the trees, the aroma of untouched earth, the hushed wisdom of the towering beings that have already been around for thousands of years and will probably be around for many more to come. John Muir, who gave the forest its name, described the experience better than I ever could: "When I entered this sublime wilderness, the day was nearly done. The trees with rosy, glowing countenances seemed to be hushed and thoughtful, as if waiting in conscious religious dependence on the sun, and one naturally walked softly and awestricken among them."
Knowing that we needed to start the long trek back to Los Angeles before the sun sank too low in the sky, we decided to make one more stop at Moro Rock on our way out of the park. I stubbornly wanted to prove to myself that I could still climb the 350+ stairs to the top even after killing my feet from hiking the day before, and guess what? Turns out I'm really the badass I think I am. On the walk from the car to the bottom of the staircase, we bumped into a group of tourists standing in the middle of the road taking pictures of a baby bear that was calmly rambling about through the trees on its own. We had heard earlier in the day that some hikers had spotted a mama bear and her two cubs crossing one of the trails ahead of them, so we decided it was probably best to steer clear of the situation, since mama was nowhere to be seen, and you're not supposed to get between a mother and her babies. Leave it to the tourists to heed that kind of advice exactly zero percent. It was a pretty cute little bear, though. And by little, I mean the size of me.
Once at the top, there was a slight mishap involving my sunglasses and the edge of a cliff...I won't go into detail, lest I give my mother a heart attack, but let's just say that I broke some rules and hugely impressed a crowd of Japanese tourists (hint: the sign below was taken as a suggestion), and my sunglasses are safe and sound.
Thus ended our trip to Sequoia National Park. We drove through the sunset and into the dark, the hot desert wind blasting us once again as we made our way out of the mountains and onto flat tar that stretched out ahead of us for miles. I was still sad that it had to end, but it felt good to know how accessible this kind of setting was as long as I took the time and made the effort. I have dreams of spending extended time - months, years - in the mountains and forests and near the sea, and I'm struggling with the knowledge that that can't happen exactly this minute, but it's nice to know that it's possible, and it's nice to know that they're close by and ready to have me as a guest whenever I need them. I sure do love me some Californ-i-a.
Happy day, friends.