After hanging in Hollywood for a few more days, Danielle and I hit the road on July 20, to backpack and climb in the Sierra Nevada for 10 days. We did not have an exact itinerary. Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, and the Lake Tahoe region were the places we had in mind and playing it by ear was our only plan. Our mutual friends that live in LA had introduced Danielle and I earlier in the spring as potential climbing and backpacking partners. We had talked for several months prior to my arrival in LA and had become very close friends and were really excited and happy to get to know one another and travel in the outdoors together. Danielle is an experienced winter mountaineer and had all of her own personal backpacking and climbing gear, so I knew I had a good partner to get into some cool outdoor projects with. She packed her bags, through them in my truck and we headed to Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Forest in the late afternoon.
I worked as a Wilderness Ranger for Jennie Lakes Wilderness for the Hume Lake Ranger District of Sequoia National Forest in, 2009. Sequoia and Kings have a special place in my heart and it feels like home to me in many ways. I was really excited to go back there and be amongst the trees and mountains, and to see some of the people I worked with in the Forest Service. Though, I was especially excited to take Danielle there, and for her to experience and explore this special place with me.
We arrived in Grants Grove in Kings Canyon National Park at night, and set up camp in the Azalea Campsite. The next morning we awoke early and thrilled to walk amongst the Giant Sequoias of Grants Grove where we were the first to arrive. I knew the low morning light cutting through the Giant Sequoias would provide a serene scene for taking photos. The Sequoias were just as I remember them, impossible to comprehend their massive size. We walked around in a calm silence, staring up in awl of the Giant Sequoia’s beauty. We spoke softly as we read the various interpretive signs, careful not to disturb the silence of the morning. We eventually arrived under the Grant Tree, which is the 3rd largest tree in the world and over 1,600 years old. I love to stand under Grant and try to capture the whole tree in my field of view even though it is impossible, because of the close proximity of the rest of the forest and the walkway. There are no words to explain the Grant Tree, so we did not begin to try. We left as silent as we came, and left more humbled by nature’s inspiring creations, the Giant Sequoias.