They don’t make rangers like they used to…

The next morning, We decided to do some driving.  It was about time for Us to get gas (We fill up at the half tank so We always have enough to get where We need to go), and We went on the hunt.  There was gas in the park for 3.69 but We figured  if We left the park a little and found a gas station We could pay less.  The attendant at the general store and lodge where We got me some coffee that morning had advised Us that in Dunlap there was gas.  Dunlap happened to be not too far outside the park so We went on an adventure.  We ran across a small town called Pinehurst and I had to use the restroom, but the only thing that appeared to be accessible was the “Pinehurst Lodge” aka the local bar.  They weren’t open for another 15 minutes, but the lady inside allowed Us to use the facilities and We stayed to have a drink.  Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka and Sprite is a wonderful breakfast in case you were wondering.  We eventually ordered a grilled cheese and fries and shortly after We were on Our way.  We had the pleasure of meeting a few locals and the bartender was very friendly as well.  When it was time for Us to pay Our tab, she seemed almost embarrassed to tell Us how much it would be and remarked that it was an expensive breakfast.  We were concerned until We found out that Our drinks had only been $4 each plus the sandwich!!  That entire tab itself was about what We would have paid for 2 (maybe 3) drinks in Austin if We didnt know the bartender.  $23 for 4 drinks and lunch…I call that a deal.      The  extended adventure was well worth it.  From there, We went driving and looking for gas but never did find the gas station.  We found the small town of Dunlap, but not the gas station…whatevs, We went back into the park and into Kings Canyon Natl Park

What do ya know?

which shares a border with Sequoia and was just up the road.  When We got to the visitor Center, a ranger informed Us about the  hikes and told Us about another gas station in the park by Hume Lake.  We saw some more GIANT trees:

BIG

on the adventure.  We hadn’t been that way yet so We set off to find it.  We did find it and let me tell you, it was a surprise…Hume Lake happens to be a christian camp.

Ponderosa Chapel

Kids EVERYWHERE.  Teenagers mostly, but the road, the pool, the lake, the everything was full of underagers wearing christian camp t-shirts walking around as if there were no cars on the road.  The entire area was wallpapered with kids.  We decided that buying gas was not all that big of a deal and that We would just get gas in the park.  The gas there was 20 cents more than the other place anyway.  We got out of there as quickly as We could…

The next stop for Us was the General Grant tree.  This tree is the “Nations Christmas Tree”.  Every year, around Christmas, thousands of carollers get together and hike to the tree and sing christmas songs.  Just to be honest, it doesnt even look like a christmas tree.  Srsly, it doesnt.  It just looks like a giant damn tree.  It is a huge tree, but it is no christmas tree.  Just knowing before We got there that it was the “Nations Christmas Tree” it was kind of strange to see that it didn’t even look like a pine tree at all.  It was definitely a connifer, but no pine tree.  Ok, so, after that We went back “home” and made some campfire dinner.  Cali has become quite the chef when it comes to camp cooking.  We dont just grill hotdogs or roast marshmallows (ever), We use fresh produce and foil pouches (with or usually without meat) plus some spices to make delicious things for food.  We do throw hot dog wieners in with stuff for fun, but for the most part, its all grilled carrots and onions and bell peppers and garlic and yumminess.

So, We have dinner and then I begin organizing the car and Our stuff while Cali gets His pictures ready to be uploaded when We enter the land of the living again…did I mention We had no cell phone service or internet?  Well, We had no technology at all (which was pretty awesome actually) so We could do no blogging or updating or talking to people.  It was just Us and the forest.  And the bears 🙂  When I had Our stuff organized to perfection, I closed the trunk only to realize that I had placed the keys to the car on the trunk ledge and they were now locked inside the trunk and the car was, of course, locked as well.  It was not the first time I had locked the keys in the car :/ but hopefully, it would be the last. Cali had just that day bought a hatchet and wouldnt ya know it was perfect for prying the door open just enough to stick something through…thing is, We didn’t have a something to stick through.  I went up to the ranger station and was greeted by an incredibly cute ranger girl named Liz.  I thought all the park rangers were supposed to be old and men…that’s what I get for thinking 🙂  she graciously gave me one of the fly swatters from her office thing and promised not to be heart broken if We tore it up.  We dismantled the fly swatter and it was too flimsy on its own so I went back to the ranger station to see if I could possibly destroy her other one as well.  She gave the other one to me and also some duct tape, cuz ya know, if you cant duc it…:)  the two fly swatter wires together were more sturdy but still not enough to push the unlock button.  A few other campers happened to be walking by and insisted they would be back to help.  They returned with a hot dog roasting fork which We taped to the wires and TADAAAA managed to unlock the car.  I think the whole process took about 2 hours 😦  Locking the keys in the car did, however, enable Us to meet a very cool person.  Liz, the park ranger who gave up her fly swatters, came out to see if We needed help during that debaucle and ended up hanging out with Us until the wee hours of the morning once her shift was over.  Like every other instance of “trouble”, We ended up getting a positive from it and now have a new friend who We hope to see in the not too far future on Our great adventure.

Big eyes in the dark 🙂

The next day, We found Ourselves awake before the alarm and ready to go again.  We had a pretty long hike planned for the day out in Kings Canyon.  We would be going from Roaring River Falls to Zumwalt Meadow and back…it would be a long trek.  This walk was so beautiful and like nothing Ive ever seen before.  Very peaceful.  Along the river mostly.  More beautifully perfect places for people to drown…I could definitely see how people would want to just get in “for a second” or thought they could “totally make it” to the island “just over there”.  There were more signs about drowning and reminders that it happens, more often than not, when people choose to enter the Kings River.  It did look inviting…crystal clear water, insanely white rapids, the most soothing sound…And We ended up at a meadow that was soothingly peaceful.

Down in that valley is the Kings River that We would be hiking along 🙂
Up on the mountain looking down at the river
Hiking along the river, or resting in the shade 🙂
There was an uphill bit!
Looks scary, sounds cool.
Zumwalt Meadow...beautiful
Grizzly Falls...it looks fake!
So much water!!

It had been a long, hot and gorgeous day.  No bears, but plenty of things to see.  The next day We would be leaving the amazing scenery of Sequoia and kings Canyon for the Garlic Capital of the world!!  Were there vampires?  Maybe, but did We see Kiefer Sutherland is the more important question…

Stay tuned.

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