Got back a few hours ago from the depths of the Sequoia and Sierra National Forest. Left Friday after work, and met up with Ismael, Alessandra, and Katrina at a developed campground around Lake Hume. I got detoured for an hour thanks to my impeccable pidgeon-like navigational skills, compounded by the lack of a GPS nav unit (aside from me being cheap, the '79 VW bus does not have a cigarette light accessory charger. I know.)
Saturday was spent "exploring" the back roads, which consists of lots of dirt, the occasional washout and a few deep ruts. At some point, I was even second guessing how the hell Basso convinced me to take a 30 year old VW into the forest trails. Yet Vanessa performed admirably, the engine kept its cool and she meandered gracefully across deep ruts and danced on the gravel. Almost as if she's more comfortable in the outdoors than she is on pavement! The main goal was to take a specific trail down to the Kings Canyon River, but we were faced with a giant muddy puddle that scared me and we settled on Plan B instead, which is on a small meadow with a great view. :P
Among the highlights of the weekend was going up to "Delilah's Lookout", which is this fire lookout point which we chanced upon at a dead-end after getting lost on the trails. We scaled the 70 foot metal structure (and slightly soiled my pants since I'm deathly afraid of heights), met the two volunteers manning the station, and soaked in some pretty awesome 360 degree views of the entire forest. They showed us a few tools they used to track and report wildfires, and I got a kick out of this small 2'x2' wooden platform raised by glass bottles that they need to stand on during the duration of a storm to insulate themselves from lightning. Plus, Kat scored a vintage copy of "The True Story of Smokey Bear" comic book that they gave us while he was going through the stuff for a fire permit. Very cool stuff.
The other highlights I need to point out are Korean BBQ short rib tacos, chicken skewers glazed with dijon honey mustard, blue cheese hamburgers, and lots of ice cold Tecate. Mmmm. Pictures tomorrow!