Posted by: wheelsandfeet | June 20, 2011

Back in Minne…for now.

A HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM AND KIM SMITH.  What a great wedding it was.  We are so glad we were able to make it back.  It felt so good to be there!  Prior to driving back for it, we squeezed in a number of fantastic places, of course!

From our free camping in Sequoia National Forest, we continued on to Sequoia National Park to free camping in a different part of Sequoia National Forest.  After that,  King’s Canyon was our next stop.  This part of the country is truly an amazing experience.  We can’t wait to get in a little deeper and experience more of the back country of these places.  How about a tree that is almost 40 feet in diameter?  Or over 3000 years old?  amazing. the biggest tree and largest living organism in the world (The General Sherman Tree) has all the tourists which makes it absolutely necessary to get off the beaten path to see other Sequoia groves.  The stillness and power of these groves of giants is inexplicable.  Wow.  The fewer people around the better.  This tree could hold 159000 basketballs, or more than 37 million pingpong balls

King’s Canyon is a mighty canyon where the major snow melt drainage of the High Sierra occurs.  the Sierra crest can be seen from Lookout Peak at the end of a great hike on the  Don Cecil Trail.  14 miles long, 4000 ft up (and down)! a great great  hike with a perfect little peak big enough for 2-4.  nice. rated as one of the top 5 views in California by The San Francisco Chronicle.

While we were checking out our options in the visitor center of King’s Canyon (one of the last old school visitor centers still totally intact from the 1930’s) the day before, a tree fell…not just any tree…a 150-200ft, 5 ft wide in diameter behemoth of a Ponderosa Pine that decided to fall while nicole and I were the only visitors there!  It sounded and felt like a bomb! and the dust in the air made it feel that way, too! it fell about 50 feet from us! it landed on two of the most popular campsites in the park! luckily, the park was closed for road resurfacing only two hours earlier! wow…that was totally crazy.  We also headed up the Mist Falls Trail at the end of the park road and with the spring runoff of record breaking snowfall in the High Sierra, the river and therefore the falls were absolutely raging.  RAGING! the mist waterfall gave us one rainbow on top of the other.  beautiful.  and on our return hike, we were “lucky” enough to see 3 bear…and big bear at that.  not necessary, really, especially since they were just a few feet off the trail and maybe 50 feet in front of us…oh, and the youngest was…yep…behind us!  yikes!  oh well, apparently, that part of the trail is known for having bear encounters with no attacks on record in the history of the park.  so it was very cool to experience.

After kings canyon and sequoia national parks we headed over to one of the quintessential drives in the country…The Big Sur Highway.  It had experienced massive amounts of landslides this year due to the record rain falls and had been closed for a couple months forcing an out and back experience from the bottom then a days drive out and around to the top for another out and back experience since the highway was closed right in the middle.  Lucky for us…IT OPENED THE DAY WE GOT THERE!  NICE!  and a beautiful drive it is.  we dug in to the backcountry of Big Sur with some hiking and backpacking with an amazing hot spring with a temp of probably just over 100F right on a river at the end of our hike.  That was fantastic and luckily not very many people were there with us that night.  we were lucky to get out when we did, though. as we were hiking out there were upwards of 40 people hiking in. wow. that’s too much. apparently, mid march on a wednesday is the best day to enjoy the hot springs and redwoods on that trail, the most popular trail in the Big Sur backcountry.

after big sur, we headed to sacramento to visit nicole’s bro for a great dinner of tacos and margaritas! woke up the next morning, I (patrick) GOT MY NURSING LICENSE FOR CALIFORNIA! DONE!  nice.  that makes being back in Minnesota that much easier right now.

Well, had a bit of a drive getting back to the good ole midwest USA for the wedding.  hmmm, let’s see, Sacramento to Minneapolis = 36 hours and 2000 miles. yikes. that’s a lot of gallons of gasoline!  marking the end of the first leg of the adventure.  6 months on the road, 15,500 miles, 35 showers (and we remember every one of them!), 20 states, 5 natural hot springs, 3 spider bites, 2 dog bites, 2 tornado warnings, and a space shuttle launch. well, there’s a bit more to it, but you get the picture.

HA!  The blog has been fun so far, although it has been something I wish to which nicole and I were able to pay more attention.  We have not included many photos in the postings at all…not impressed. Good thing nicole included some in her pet project of the travelogue!  but to enjoy time in life to the fullest at the time, less time is able to be spent on recording it.

In this day and age in the US society especially, I believe we spend too much time recording memorable moments and not enough time experiencing them.  We simply have less and less time.  When they say you have only one life to live, they mean it.  I am a firm believer that just knowing what your dreams are and holding on to them is the hard part.  There is a downside to dreaming, though.  The biggest problem with achieving even one of them is that you may become anxious to reach another!  And, that creates hope…and as Morgan Freeman so eloquently states in the movie Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a dangerous thing.”  Not sure how many folks watch that movie with the thought that it applies directly to themselves…but it does.  It applies to everyone.  Staying within the walls of a person’s daily life can be much easier and safer in the short term.  Hell, we got T.V. to watch to keep us entertained.  What more do ya need? human nature comin atcha loud and clear.  But, without dreams and the crazy notion that they can be achieved, we are nothing but robots with a heartbeat.  We fall into the trap of consumerism way too often and think less and less for ourselves and our dreams.  Spend less money, spend more time, buy fewer things, have more experiences, make more friends, see more places, live a little while you have the chance.

I have a bit of time this week in a very familiar place (mom’s house!) so I’ll have some time to include more of the photos.  the blog may be taking a bit of a break…we’ll see. the adventure will continue soon, though, with nicole and I hiking from two harbors, MN to Canada on the superior hiking trail if our plans work out! very excited for that!  we haven’t tried “through hiking” before…it’s the type of hiking that is ongoing by resupplying in small towns along the way.  we hope to do 13-15 miles/day average for about 2 weeks.  If it goes okay, we hope to graduate to one of the Grandaddy’s of the long trails i.e. The Colorado Trail, The Appalachian Trail, or The Pacific Crest Trail someday.  These are just dreams…in which case the hard part is taken care of! 😀  (for some reason, if we ever actually do one of those trails I’ll have a different idea of what was the hard part).

Excited to be back in Minnesota for now, but bittersweet that this leg of the adventure is over.  can’t wait to restart the engines!



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