Sojourn in Sequoia

Being in California usually makes me feel better and more whole: more of my friends are there, it’s easier to do the things I most love to do (hiking, tennis, outdoor swimming all year long, etc.), and though I’m slowly rebuilding a social network in and around NYC, in general it’s just easier for me to find things to do and people to do them with in SF or LA than here in NYC. To my long-planned visit to the SF Bay Area for the Cabrillo Festival (see below), I added a leg to Los Angeles in order to attend the wedding of my friends Joezen and Steve. What a wonderful experience to be there with good friends for a wedding that, in the state of California, finally has legal weight! And such a generous, connected and concerned wedding it was — all about equality and conserving our planet’s limited resources, all about friendship and family. I’m glad I was able to be there.

Having added that LA leg, I then signed on for a sojourn in Sequoia National Park, the less-visited and somewhat less-known southern neighbor to California’s blockbuster Yosemite National Park. My friends Howard and Gene, along with others whom I enjoyed meeting in the park, had arranged three out of six tent cabins at Bear Paw high sierra camp for a few nights, which dovetailed rather nicely with the wedding: I got myself up to Sequoia with help from Gene, we hiked the eleven miles up to Bear Paw, and spent two nights there before hiking the eleven miles back down. In between, I did an absolutely amazing 16-mile hike with 4500-foot elevation gain going up and then back down, up to Mt. Steward on the Great Western Divide (the crest of the Sierras). The higher alpine-tundra looking shots below and above are from that day’s hike, with high alpine lakes and so forth. The rest are generally shots of the Sierras in Sequoia, including a shot of me in front of one of the big, wide redwoods that give Sequoia its name. Believe it or not, I’ve actually sorted through these shots and excluded many from this entry — still and all, there are a lot of shots, but I hope you’ll agree they’re worth enjoying. 🙂

California has two varieties of redwoods still growing: mountain redwoods, or sequoias, which grow much much larger in girth but generally not quite so tall as the coastal redwoods, which can be seen just north of SF in Muir Woods, or in other spots along CA’s northern coast.

John, David & I took a few short swims in this glacial (almost literally — there are snow packs that are still melting, just next to it) lake.

I nearly stepped on this six or seven-foot rattlesnake. Eek!

…the alpine flowers, as you can see, captured my imagination.

Above, I’m trying to convey the steepness of the rocks over which this water is falling. That’s basically a self-portrait of shadow, with the lower upper body much farther away because it’s a few hundred feet down a vertiginous drop.

A waterfall and pools much lower down in which we took a muchj-warmer swim on our way out of the high country.

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