Day 8 on the road.
It’s always a challenge to go out, leave everything behind and embrace the events to come. It’s even harder to keep a blog moving forward when internet access and general access to the plugged-in world are extremely limited. It’s a bitter sweet way of life sometimes, I suppose.
I have spent the last few days in southern and central California – an interesting place to say the least. Day 1 was a late-morning/mid-day drive from Fresno to Riverside. Verdict? Riverside is intense. It felt like I was surrounded by a million individuals, constantly on the move. I would wake up to the sound of street sweepers and fall asleep to the screams of men and women bar-hopping in the distance.
Once the week ended, I headed for this hills – off to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for a few days prior to Yosemite for another week of training/professional development…
Sequoia was unreal: a rather impressive place with incredibly dynamic weather patterns. Site 13 in Buckeye Flat is where you want to be: River-side in a whole new light. The Middle Fork of the Kaweah River lulled me to sleep – the first sleep I’ve had alone in the forest without some partner in crime and exploration. It was magical. It was a confidence boost and helped me to prove that I am as strong a woman as I thought I was. It was a very empowering evening.
The morning brought semi-torrential downpours, but when in Rome, you better explore – especially if a second visit is not yet in the cards. I headed north with a second-hand rain coat and a positive mind.
The clouds were thick, everything was socked-in worse than I could have imagined. In fact, I had not seen fog like that since spring break 2008 in Great Smoky Mountains NP (now that was a trip and a half! But we’ll save that for reminiscing over a beer some time…). As I drive the General’s Highway, the plan – after deep deliberation with a NPS colleague and his wife at the Ol’ Buckaroo food truck in Three Rivers, CA – was to camp at Azalea Campground on the King’s Canyon NP site of the two parks.
However, this happened:
Please excuse the ridiculous look on my face [insert goofy smiley emoticon here], that’s the General Sherman. And while it was raining at 5,000 feet, it was dumping snow at 6,000. Outcome? The park closed the remaining General Sherman highway route through the north end of the park. I turned around to drive the hour+ to the south end of Sequoia and worked on a new plan…
Quick side-note: A realized, after I awoke in my lovely well-drained but sopping wet campsite that I had forgotten a lighter. The Jetboil I brought with me is the newer style, which means: No ignition. ‘What does this mean’, you ask? No coffee. No breakfast. No good. Also, the payphone down the road – oh, did I mention there is no Verizon service from the gateway town (Three Rivers) until you reach the Kings Canyon side? – ate my quarters. Ya. No calls that morning, either…but I digress…
The new plan:
It was Friday morning.
I had no campsite waiting for me in Kings Canyon any longer (the Ranger at the entrance station confirmed my assumptions – Azalea was buried under a few inches of snow).
And I was hungry and in desperate need of the bean juice (that’s coffee for those of you who don’t necessarily know me all that well).
Cue breakfast at the Ol’ Buckaroo.
No joke: You need to go to this place. Phenomenal food, beverage, and service. Seriously. Just go. I had the “Cowboy Breakfast” – 2 friend eggs (eeks, over EASY!), scrumptious potatoes with hard salt, greens (I think they were dandelion, and yes, they were awesome), and what tasted like a freshly-pressed cup of coffee..all mine.
With a full stomach and a new mission in mind, I headed the long way to Yosemite – up the central valley, through the southern entrance & off to Camp 4 for the next few days.
Since it’s late & I’m ready to crash, I think I’ll save the rest of the story for another day… (to be continued)
Four. More. Days.