“There is nothing that goes wrong with nature. Turn off your mind and float downstream.” George Harrison, 7/24/97 last public interview
Visiting the national parks in the United States has become a high priority for my wife and me in our recent road trip travels. Having spent extensive time in California on our previous car travels west, we had oddly missed visiting on several occasions the vast expanses of Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park. Thus, the decision to side-trip from our current base in Morro Bay, Calif. to Sequoia on the Monday after Easter would be a much anticipated event on our 2017 Spring vacation.
Certainly, today did not provide opportune weather to make the arduous trip east across Central California as foggy mist shrouded our view much of the way. Fortunately, the skies would clear as we neared the end of Central Valley leaving us with an awestruck vista of the Sierra Range immediately ahead. Exiting the low-lying plain beyond Visalia, we the began a gradual climb up the Kaweah River Canyon. Stopping at Slide Rock Recreation area, we made time for a brief look
at this tranquil confluence of mountain-fed waters . A few miles further, we would soon pass our sleep destination for tonight; a modest Comfort Inn lying within the rustic town of “Three Rivers”. We we were now within four miles of the southerly entrance to Sequoia National Park.
Anticipating that the weather would not be cooperative on Tuesday, we had earlier made the decision that our afternoon today would likely be the best time to visit the southerly portion of Sequoia. Fortunately, all roads in the park would be open now, traffic appeared light, and clear visibility of the surrounding mountains seemed likely. Gaining free access with our National Park Pass, we would begin our short tour at the Ash Mountain Entrance.
One mile in, we reached the Foothills Visitor Center. This would prove to be an ideal spot for us to picnic lunch and plan our afternoon ride to our main destinations today: towering “Moro Rock” and the secluded forest of the “Sequoia Tree Giants.” There were many factors to consider for sure in completing our goal today. Would we become irritated driving steeply uphill for over 6,000 feet on a narrowly twisting road? Would there be a need to chain up our tires as we reached the snow belt section? Would the seasonable weather hold up throughout the afternoon?
Ultimately deciding we were “up” for such challenges, our drive to the Sequoia Forest worked out well for us today. On this three hour ascent/descent today in non-freezing conditions, we would frequently stop at designated overlooks to gaze at spectacular vistas of secluded valleys below and majestic mountain peaks above. Our senses would be further enhanced in the increasingly thin-air altitudes by the appearance of giant boulder formations, brilliantly-colored,spring vegetation, and towering strands of ancient, Sequoia trees
What had been learned by the “now” experience of silent and undisturbed nature in the land of the tree giants? Life seems too short to waste on endless “monkey-mind” stress when you consider that human days on earth are few compared to these indestructible mammoths of nature. I would thus need to hug a tree today and return my gratitude for giving me such an important insight.