Stranded In The Southland

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Camping in the Sierras...

Our laid-back, East-coast buddy B. had been talking about visiting us for years, but finally made it out a few weeks ago. This was his first trip to California, and he mentioned wanting to check out the Sequoias while he was here.

I was delighted by the idea, since I love getting up into the Sierras, and I'm totally blown away by the really big trees. Even M. was enthusiastic enough about the idea that she suggested we camp out over night!

It's easily a four-hour drive up to Sequoia National Park (which has the closest big trees) and we decided that we really had to stretch it out a bit and take ol' B. up through the Mojave and Tehachapi Pass. As we came over the pass, the smoke from a forest fire over by Santa Barbara nearly blotted out the sun; the sun was a bright red (what of it we could see), and it felt like dusk. Wild.

We arrived at the park late in the day, managed to get a nice campsite, gathered some wood, and settled in. M. cooked us some pasta and sausages for dinner, we built a little fire in the firepit, and hung out drinkin' beer and enjoying an amazing array of stars.

I slept just fine, despite having M. repeatedly rolling over on top of me, but she didn't sleep a wink. Bummer. Next time, I'll give her the cheap-ass RidgeRest pad, and I'll sleep on the $100 expedition-weight ThermaRest pad. :-) Despite that, we were all rarin' to go, and slogged past all of the big ol' Sequoias, taking pictures and marveling. Well, M. spent some of that time napping in the car, too.

B. seemed to enjoy the trip, but had seen enough trees pretty early on, as had M. So we had a good picnic lunch, checked out the Panoramic Lookout at Kings Canyon NP, and headed back down to LA, stopping in Bakersfield for some (as always, fairly funky) Basque food, which B. seemed to grove on.

All in all, it was a fun trip. I usually plan the daylights out of my trips, but this time we just borrowed an extra tent and sleeping back from a buddy, dropped by the grocery store, loaded up the cooler, and headed out. The last time I was up at the park, I saw something like seven bears in three days, so I was a little extra paranoid about our bear preparation. This time, we didn't see any at all, and our fellow campers seemed to take almost no precautions at all. Eh, it was all a blast...