Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon NP 2018

A backpackign friend of mine had given me some free summer weekend dates and having gotten a bit more in shape, I figured a great trip would be to revisit a crazy trail in Kings Canyon. He injured himself and couldn't make it, but I had the permit for a full weekend and went anyway...a great way to test out gear! I drove into Sequoia and spent some time up at Crescent Meadow. Seeing a sign leading to another trail I took it and got to spend a bit on the High Sierra Trail and got to some gorgeous vistas I'd never seen before; I think this may be a trail I need to hike for sure! But around every turn of the road, every bend, every time I saw another sequoia I always smiled, waved and said hello. Like I'm meeting an old friend. I love these trees and know they are some of the most special things on this world. I spent the sunset in the Giant Forest walking around, the orange of the setting sun making the bark red and glowing. I must get there earlier next time, but every time in that place, with those trees, is magical.

It was then into Kings Canyon to put things to the test, both my gear setup and both myself. A long time ago with a friend I had wanted to get to go see Granite Basin. The trail is tough, ascending about 1000 feet each mile. Nearly 10 years ago it almost broke me. But this time I was going to try. Unfortunately, all the campsites were completely full due to the Yosemite fire, so I had an hour and a half drive, and even after that I had to wait 30 minutes to pick up my wilderness permit, so got a late start! Only 20 people were in the backcountry, but it still felt crowded...while taking my pack up the mountain ran across a Boy Scout troop leader and talked for a bit about dog sledding and Alaska. But Copper Creek was his favorite place, and he told me his favorite campsite. I kept on pushing on, and took my heavy pack up 4000 feet to Upper Tent Meadow and like he had said, gorgeous. The smoke from the Yosemite fire was hanging in the air as I set up my campsite, but getting a second wind I figured I&aps;d try for the lip. With all the delays getting permits and to the station, it wasn't meant to be; I only got up to 10.5 and out of water, and time, headed back to make dinner. And to make dinner and watch the sunset, the smoke clearing, the orange sun lighting up the beautiful sculpted granite peaks while quaffing the delicious water of the mountains...

I was amazed at the number of other solo backpackers I'd met on the trail, ones older than myself, and I hope as I grow old to continue to have their drive to get out into the wild and experience such great splendor.

I did not get into Granite Basin. But I saw some of the formations of it from where I got up high. But, more importantly, I know how to get there in the future and ironed out all the final quirks of my gear.

The Santa Ynez mountains have judged me, the Sierras have judged me. Now, it is time. The Alaska range awaits!

The Photographs

Picutres were from the a900 system with the 24-70, 70-400 lenses and an iPhone SE.

Click "Next" in the upper right to begin.