SEPT 12, 2008
is about the two
gorgeous nights I spent in the Sierras, under spectacularly starlit
skies, beside the largest
living things on the planet. This is also
about my first ever experience waiting in line for a shower at a public
This is about my first car camping trip, which proved to be great fun
and a great adventure.
"Adventure is just bad planning."
Norwegian Arctic & Antarctic explorer (1872 - 1928)
an extremely busy
day (in fact an extremely busy week) at work, I rushed home to pack my
bags and loaded up all of my “virgin” camping gear
in to a
rented Toyota Corolla. I used up every inch of the trunk and the back
seat and was glad that I hadn’t agreed to carpool with the
in the group.
My wife and I drove four and half hours straight and got to our hotel
in Tulare (pronounced “To Larry”) around midnight.
hotel was shadier than I had expected. There was certainly something
quite illegal going on, but I couldn’t care less. The hotel
was friendly and the room was just what I needed for a basic sleepover
en route my destination.
After some very basic continental breakfast we headed for the
Sequoia and Kings
Parks, stopping only briefly in
Three Rivers to buy some Fire Wood
for our camp.
The first activity on the agenda was a short hike in the Lodgepole
area. The hike to Tokopah Falls is 3.4 miles round trip through
beautiful forest scenery. The trail hugs the Marble Fork of the Kaweah
River throughout and gains about 500 ft in altitude, mostly towards the
end. The river hardly had any water and the waterfall itself was no
more than a trickle.
On the way back, we saw a fairly large
black bear in the river, minding
his own sweet business. I am sure
he noticed us and the other hikers clicking away with their cameras,
but he didn’t seem to care.
Thus far, this day had lacked any traits of a camping trip,
notwithstanding the mini household I was packing in my car of course.
But that was about to end in a matter of minutes. Unlike what one would
expect, my camping initiation wouldn’t begin with the
striking of mallet on a tent stake or even the archetypal roasting of a
S’more. The very first camping ritual I got introduced to was
not-so-glamorous public shower. Standing in a long line with over a
dozen quarters in my hand I waited, still in high spirits mind you, for
my very own eight minutes under a shower head.
After what seemed like the longest eight minutes of my life, we headed
to our campsite in Dorst Creek. In little over an hour the tents were
up, the fire was lit and dinner was getting ready on my brand new
Coleman twin burner stove.
We enjoyed our meal and admired the stars barely noticing our
enthusiastic camp-neighbors and their Bollywood
The next morning we decided to undertake a slightly more strenuous hike
in Kings Canyon. We hiked to Mist Falls and back, a round-trip distance
of slightly over 9 miles. The trail was mostly flat and sandy, except
for the last mile which gains about 600 ft just before reaching the
falls. Throughout we walked along what I think is Kings River. We
stopped for a brief lunch break at the Bubbs Creek Bridge almost 2
miles into the hike. Unlike Tokopah Falls on the Kaweah, Mist Falls
still packed a punch even this late in the season.
Later that night, the drive back to camp was almost uneventful, except
for the fact that I almost hit what we now believe was a bear that
materialized from nowhere and bolted across the General’s
just inches in front of my car! Makes me wonder – why did the
bear cross the road?
Upon reaching the camp, we cooked, ate and sat around enjoying the much
appreciated warmth from the campfire. This trip was to end soon, but we
were already planning another. Hopefully sometime soon.
of my photographs from this trip are posted here.