A special friend, David R., announced his plans to be married in Ivanhoe, CA. Even though it would be a flight and a few days away on the eve of a very busy ski patrol training weekend, some things in life take priority. Being there for your friends for such big life events is one of them.
Catching up with David at his wedding on 11/3
The trip down would require a fast turnaround, which was hard to stomach as I looked at the area maps and saw that Yosemite was just a three hour drive away from Fresno, CA, where I would be staying and flying to/from. Earmarking those dreams for a future trip, I called my dad and asked what he recommended in the area with such a short window to visit. When he heard I was considering Giant Sequoia National Park, his immediate response was to go there and spend all my time with the giant trees. Alright then, off I go!
The drive to the park was beautiful, showcasing the varying landscapes of central California, an area I have little memory or ever visiting, though I suspect I may have been near here as a child.
The beautiful farmland gave way to rocky hillsides and gullies and soon signs began to appear with elevation markers…
… and climbing…
By the time I was in the park and losing myself to the wonder of the amazing forests with thick clouds flowing between tree trunks, it was hard to believe that I was over 7,000 feet in elevation. Somehow I hadn’t processed the true grandeur of this place. I became even more grateful that although they were lacking, I had thought to pack several of my 10 Essentials for the trip. You know, just in case…
Navigating to the parking area for the trail to General Sherman, the biggest tree on earth, was fairly easy. Even with a number of cars in the parking lot, I instantly felt the solitude and was grateful to be there in the off-season. I’ll let the following photos speak for themselves as to the beauty of the area and the wonder I felt in the short hour and a half I was able to spend exploring.
As time ticked down, the two hour drive to Visalia for the pre-wedding festivities loomed, and it was time to go. However, several spots along the way just couldn’t be resisted, and I hopped in and out of the rental car with abandon as I raced against time and the ebbing daylight to see “just one more” place.
The next day was the day of the wedding. Having the morning to myself, I took to the AllTrails app and began browsing local hikes. There had to be some sort of nature walk in the area! After browsing around a bit, I found a promising looking hike just a few miles in length to Pincushion Peak. Near a lake with reports speaking of a steep push for the top and panoramic views, I was sold! Off on another adventure!
After the hike, it was back to the hotel to change and then off to the wedding. By the end of the evening, sleep was the only thing on my mind. That was a lot to pack into a two day trip, even for me! As I boarded the plane back to Seattle a mere 40 hours after arriving in Fresno, I knew I would have to come back again soon to explore even a fragment more of what the area has to offer.
To follow our trail…