Gentle Giants and a Lesson

Welcome back, folks.  We arrived in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park(s) on Wed July 6th
and set up Our campsite like pros.  This time We were a little better prepared with a flashlight, back pack and hiking boots.  On Our way to the campsite that first day, there was an amazing rainbow across the valley…It was so bright and colorful and huge!
Beautiful
We  came across this:

Look, a giant rock! Lets make a road through it! ???

We also saw this massive “rock” sticking out that was all random and huge:
What IS that?
We could see it from the road almost every way We faced or circled around the mtn, it was so out of place looking and noticeable.  One of the only things with no trees on it in that We had seen since entering the area…wheird.  Speaking of trees, the giant trees We began to see were amazing.  Neither of Us have never seen trees this big before.  When I say big, I dont mean like “oh look, thats a big tree.”  I mean like “holy shite that tree is so freaking big.”  Most of the Giant Sequoias have bases that are wider than Our car is long!!  When driving through the forest, We looked around at the trees and were like “wow those are big trees” and then when We got to the Giant Forest part of the park where the Sequoias are, it was almost unbelievable.  You look through the trees and interspersed among the red firs, white firs and sugar pines are these massive rust colored tree trunks that are so tall it almost hurts to look up at them. Pictures of the trees soon, be patient.  We didn’t take many pics of them on the way in, but We would be camping among them for the week 🙂
Our first morning to wake up in the park was kinda noisy…around 630 am We heard a car alarm going off and nobody silenced it for several minutes.  This is unusual for a campsite.  After the alarm was silenced, We heard some banging coming from further back in the campground.  We couldn’t check in with the campsite host until 8ish since We arrived after they closed so We were taking the opportunity to “sleep in”.  We usually rise around 6am or earlier to get started on Our hikes before the sun bakes Us, and that day We were not. Since We were awake, however, We got up and started packing Our lunch and whatnot for the days activities.  While making sandwiches, I noticed something moving across the street:

Black bear

This was literally right across the street from Our campsite.  When We arrived, We had read the signs everywhere that it is a law to store your food and toiletries inside “bear proof boxes”, so We did (thankfully) but someone else had not…the car alarm We heard earlier, and the banging?  This fuzzy guy had ripped a window out of someones car to get to their food they left inside.  He also tore up the inside of their van and didn’t mind at all when the alarm started going   off or when they started banging pots and pans at him.  When he finished, he sauntered off and came up towards Us.  Sorry bear, We have nothing for you.  All Our food is in the “box” 🙂  I highly recommend following the ranger instructions when camping so your car doesn’t get torn apart by a bear…just sayin.
So after taking pictures of the bear and packing lunch and all that good stuff, We grab some coffee and hit the dirt!  Our first day out hiking, We did a 3.5 mile hike and saw Tokopah Falls to start the day off right.  All the way up to the falls was practically waterside and beautiful.
The sound of the water rushing by Us was so relaxing and invigorating at the same time.  We found out later that someone “perished” there at the falls 2 days earlier.  The Kings River had claimed many lives of careless people who chose to ignore the warnings that were not only given by rangers but also posted everywhere.  It was a shame to hear about but the way I figure, if you are going to get into a river that you know to be dangerous, you are pretty much asking for whatever happens…just sayin.  So We made it to the top 🙂

Amazing view 🙂

After that, We stopped at the General Sherman Tree (the biggest tree by volume in the WORLD) and that was about a mile round trip.
Giants
It was a damn big tree.  I mean, when I say big, it was HUGE.  Its the biggest tree in the world so when I say big, I mean the BIGGEST.
Who the heck is General Sherman?

From there, We decided We had to see the top of Morro Rock and We are glad We did.  Do you remember the giant rock I mentioned above that was sticking out from the mountains?  Well, We found out what it was and absolutely HAD to climb it.  The road goes most of the way and then the incredibly steep .5 mile treck up the stairs that were built into the rock itself was brutal.

Starting to the steps
If you look close, you can see people going up the steps ahead of me…the stairs were serious business.  Looking down the side was scary:
Dont trip!
Upon reaching the top, though, I forgot all about how winded I was.  The view from there is nothing short of spectacular.  You can see in all directions…down into the surrounding valleys, some of which go deeper than the grand canyon, and across the tops of some of the highest peaks in the country.
On the way up...Cali took some amazing pictures
Stopped to rest a second.
Breathtaking
While I was certainly sweaty, I had poured water over my head too 🙂
That railing on the right is the walkway!
We caught Our breath at the top, took a few pictures, said “oh my gosh” and “wow” a lot and it hit me finally that We were standing on top of this enormous boulder in the side of a mountain that We had seen while driving and couldn’t tell there was a walkway or people on top of…  it was pretty amazing.  Then walked the half mile back down the treacherous steps, which was not amazing.
We finished Our first day in Sequoia by visiting Crescent Meadow, otherwise known as the “gem of the sierras”.
Crescent meadow. Cali took this, but google it and you'll see its a popular picture to take...
Everything We had read about the meadow said that it  is blanketed in wild flower blooms during mid-summer.  Apparently early July isn’t mid-summer…there wasn’t a single bloom in the meadow.  I had made the mistake of getting hyped up about seeing it and how beautiful it was going to be that I was disappointed when We got to it, and that in itself is disappointing.  The meadow is beautiful, but I had it in my head there were going to be millions of flowers.  It was a wonderful and timely reminder that I shouldnt have any expectations about anything We are doing.  I have never been to these places and I want to enjoy them.  Being surprised by and delighted in every individual happening on Our journey is so much more enjoyable than expecting anything at all and waiting to see if Im right (consequently being disappointed or let down).  Cali and I had a wonderful conversation about this while walking around the 1 mile meadow loop and instead of allowing myself to remember that place as a disappointment, I realized it had instead been my classroom for the day.  From that point on, I became determined to keep this in mind when approaching any given situation whether pertaining to this Voyage or the voyage of life in general.
On the meadow loop, there were more awesomely huge trees, several of which had fallen.  One such tree was close enough to the path that I could explore it a little.

As big as they are, they have shallow root systems
After the meadow, We went back to camp and called it a night.  Dinner and conversation and into the tent We went.  🙂
We slept well that night with no expectations for the next day, just appreciation for the life available to Us.
What does a person in Pinehurst call an “expensive breakfast”?
Stay tuned…
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