16: SEKI National Park

CALIFORNIA - June 19-24

Of all the sights I've seen in my life, the Sierra's have a beauty all to their own.

Although we'd reached the Sierra's, it took a few miles before the scenery caught up to it's reputation. Hiking out from Kennedy Meadows we were immediately struck with another burn area, the fire that ripped through this area couldn't have happened more than five years ago.

Living in the midwest most of my life, I'd heard of the drought and fires raging across California but to be honest, the distance made it hard for me to actually understand the consequences. Hiking through these areas though, has really put it into perspective the damaged that has been caused. Not only to the land and once beautiful lush landscape, but to the once thriving communities that are now struggling without tourism and permanent residence. 

 view of a valley on the summer solstice 

view of a valley on the summer solstice 

Around Chicken Springs Lake, the scenery really started to change as we we're met with dense forests and bright greens unfamiliar to our desert eyes. 

Unfortunatly, around this time Evac got really sick and headed to Lone Pine with Wolf and U-turn to get some proper medical attention. She's doing way better now though and I hope to see the three of them soon!

 Chicken Springs Lake, shower time!

Chicken Springs Lake, shower time!

 a few miles later, entering SEKI, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks! Our first NP'S of the trip

a few miles later, entering SEKI, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks! Our first NP'S of the trip

CLIMBING MT. WHITNEY

Yoda, Zuel and I took off around 12:30am the morning of the 24th - hoping to make it in time for sunrise on the top.of the mountain. After nearly 4 hours of climbing up the tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 and in the dark, we made it while the horizon was just starting to show a faint band of yellowish glow. Mt. Whitney isn't technically on the PCT but the 17 mile round trip hike makes it nearly impossibly to pass up. And luckly we'd been warned too how cold it was up there, so while we're able to leave most of our gear at base camp, we packed out all of our clothes and sleeping bags. 

 Sunrise from the edge

Sunrise from the edge

 sun and moon in the same photo

sun and moon in the same photo

 just another warning sign

just another warning sign

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 looking out over the edge

looking out over the edge

 the shelter on top

the shelter on top

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 don't Let It Go

don't Let It Go

 sprinkles and I

sprinkles and I

It was all dark on the way up so the hike back down was quite spectacular to see what I'd walked by without even knowing.

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 some of the trail still had snow on it, not so much fun in the dark. 

some of the trail still had snow on it, not so much fun in the dark. 

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next, we'll start walking over the passes,

Outro