Soulified–Sierra Nevada Autumn

Autumn has arrived in the desert.  The wind is howling
and heavy, winter-like clouds hang on the mountain
peaks west of Ridgecrest.  It is snowing up there.
The air is a cool 65 degrees during the day and dips
into the 40s at night.

I love it.

Some people get spring fever. I get fall fever.  Wool
sweaters, hot tea, changing leaf colors and lots of
blankets on the bed are my season.  And, there’s not a
better time to go hiking.

I spent this past weekend in Sequoia National Park,
about a 3 1/2 hour drive from here.

We pulled into the Atwell Spring campground in the
Mineral King area around 7:30 Friday evening, our
stomachs a bit queasy from the 500 some odd twists and
turns up the mountain road. 

We pitched the tent and threw out our bags.  Sleep was
the immediate need.

The following morning we woke and decided to do the
tourist sites of the park.

We drove through the glorious Giant Forest, home of a
huge sequoia named General Sherman.  We stopped for a
pee break, looked at Sherman and moved on. 

A half hour later we arrived at General Grant, another
humongous sequoia tree. We were gonna pee there too,
but a bus load of senior citizens pulled in and had
the facilities occupied.  We moved on.

Bordering Sequoia National Park is Kings Canyon
National Park.  Some consider it to rival the Yosemite
Valley.  Not having seen Yosemite, I cannot make a
comparison.  But, I can say that Kings Canyon is the
most rugged, raw, rock mountain landscape I have ever
seen.  Big mountains with grey rock walls rise
straight up from the King River a couple thousand feet

I thought of pictures I have seen of Chamonix in the
French Alps as we drove down into the canyon.  I
school-boy dreamed of climbing one of the peaks. 

We destined ourselves at Cedar Grove and found the
Hotel Creek Trail.  A few minutes into our hike, we
came to a tiny ribbon of a waterfall and decided to
spend the afternoon there.

The day passed…

Sunday was a day of hiking in the Mineral King area.
A hundred or less more twists and turns up the road
lay the Eagel Creek Trail. We were stepping out for
Mosquito Lake by 9:30 a.m.

Three miles up the mountain, sitting at 9500 feet, was
Mosquito Lake.  We arrived to the company of two mule
deer on the far shore feeding in tall grass.  The lake
was a shimmering bowl of water surrounded by pine
trees.  It softly reverberated “solitude.” 

I was at home.  So much so that I stripped off my
clothes and dove into the lake.

The water was freezing, literally.  My ankles felt
like they were going to shatter.  I laughed.  I
shivered and shook.  I smiled.

We bathed in the sun and talked of living our lives
minus work.  We tried to scheme ways of making money
by doing exactly what were doing at the moment.

We ate bean and rice burritos, napped on a rock, and
scribbled some thoughts in a journal.  The day was

Walking down the mountain, we stopped to absorb the
beauty of late-afternoon in the forest.  The tree tops
danced a classicl ballet with the aid of the wind.  A
cearing in the trees glowed a warm golden russet hue.
The sky was robin egg blue with a touch of pastel
yellow in the corners. 

We were lightened, our steps likewise as we meandered
down the trail.


(written 15 October 200)

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