From Joshuas to Sequoias

Considering Joshua Tree was only the second time I've ever camped (and the first time alone), I'd say it went pretty well. I managed to sleep pretty well. I probably got around 10 hours sleep, which is way more than I've been getting on this trip. I did wake a couple times in the night, always because the people in the next campsite were talking until sunrise.

I didn't get up to climb Ryan Mountain at sunrise, which really isn't that shocking at all. After I packed away the camping gear around 8, I spent the rest of the morning checking out more of the park. The only real hike I did was in Hidden Valley. I had every intention of making another attempt to catch sunset on Ryan Mountain, but after Wednesday's climb and the hike in Hidden Valley, I didn't have the energy to do it. So I left Joshua Tree having been defeated by Ryan. Hmmm... am I trying to say something here?

I could not decide on what to do from there. I had intended to go to both Sequoia and Yosemite national parks, but it was becoming clear that I didn't have enough time to see both parks, my friend Pat, and still pick my parents up in Sacramento on the 7th. So, I decided that trying to camp in both parks was unreasonable. I didn't know which one to cut, so I headed towards Fresno, figuring I could decide on the way.

I was exhausted both physically and mentally. I haven't been getting the downtime that I'm accustomed to. I didn't even make it to Fresno, but rather checked in a crappy Econo Lodge in Visalia. I'd stopped to get some dinner, and ended up getting an In 'N Out burger, which my friend Wendy raves about. It was much better than the Sonic Burger, and overall I'd say the experience was similar to a Five Guys burger, which while tasty, I actually feel ill after eating such greasy food. I don't think I have any more fast food obligations on this trip!

The next morning I woke up to a smell that I'd experienced in many small towns on the road the day before. I guess it is manure from the farms. I don't know how people live in these towns that literally smell like crap all the time. Or maybe it doesn't always smell that way... I'm not sure. I was still in my funk from the day before, and I decided to stop putting so much pressure on myself to see everything I can. And I gave myself permission to not photograph anything if I didn't want to. I decided rather than rushing out to Sequoia, that I'd check out Visalia. I had a great lunch at a vegetarian health food store (I forgot the name).

It was Friday around 1pm that I arrived at the South entrance of Sequoia. I had to decide on which campsite to stay at. Unfortunately, most of them closed for the season Nov. 1. I really wanted to stay in the high country, at Lodgepole, but they were forecasting the temperature to get in the low 20's at night, and I was a bit intimidated by that. If I had gloves, I might have considered it. I ended up at Potwisha, which unfortunately meant I'd be doing a lot of driving from the campsite to the interesting parts of the park.

I don't feel like boring you with all the mundane details of my two days and nights in Sequoia. I will say that I was awe struck after seeing the two largest trees in the world (by volume). I also didn't really get to see any of the adjacent King's Canyon National Park. I'd like to learn enough about back country hiking/camping to see it someday. The vast majority of the park can't been seen without multiple days of hiking on foot. I'm drawn by the notion that it is virtually untouched by man due to its inaccessibility by car.

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