100 Days of National Parks: Day 62 – On Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park

On Moro Rock

Sitting on top of Moro Rock, in Sequoia National Park, it’s impossible not to let your mind drift as you enjoy one of the best views in the park, and one of the best overlooks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that I’ve ever come across. Unimpeded by trees or ground cover, the view from Moro Rock offers an expansive clear view of the peaks of the High Sierra to the east, crowned by Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental U.S., all the way to to the rolling foothills and expansive farmlands of the central valley. It’s rare that you can find such a pristine overlook, such a clear view of some of the most amazing landscapes the country has to offer. It’s even rarer to have the experience to yourself.

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On Moro Rock

On Moro Rock
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Sitting on top of Moro Rock, in Sequoia National Park, it’s impossible not to let your mind drift as you enjoy one of the best views in the park, and one of the best overlooks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that I’ve ever come across.  Unimpeded by trees or ground cover, the view from Moro Rock offers an expansive clear view of the peaks of the High Sierra to the east, crowned by Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental U.S., all the way to to the rolling foothills and expansive farmlands of the central valley.  It’s rare that you can find such a pristine overlook, such a clear view of some of the most amazing landscapes the country has to offer.  It’s even rarer to have the experience to yourself.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 62 – On Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 38 – Acorn Woodpecker, Sequoia National Park

Autumn Woodpecker

Sometimes the best shots come at the most unexpected times. I was on my way out of Sequoia National Park on my last day there in 2012, having packed up my camp at the Potishwa Campground near the Foothills Visitor Center when I saw a flash to my left and looked out my window to see this lovely acorn woodpecker land on a nearby oak tree. I stopped the car and threw on a long lens, and managed to snap this shot in the few seconds before he took off for another oak further in the campground.

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Acorn Woodpecker

Autumn Woodpecker
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Sometimes the best shots come at the most unexpected times.  I was on my way out of Sequoia National Park on my last day there in 2012, having packed up my camp at the Potishwa Campground near the Foothills Visitor Center when I saw a flash to my left and looked out my window to see this lovely acorn woodpecker land on a nearby oak tree.  I stopped the car and threw on a long lens, and managed to snap this shot in the few seconds before he took off for another oak further in the campground.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 38 – Acorn Woodpecker, Sequoia National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 36 – Mist Falls, King’s Canyon National Park

My first taste of hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains came in August of 2012, when I took a three day weekend and traveled up to King’s Canyon National Park in California, not knowing what to expect. It was my first solo camping trip in ages, and I’d just heard the Park existed. I knew about Sequoia, naturally, which extends to the south of King’s Canyon and forms one massive National Park area covering the majority of the southern end of the High Sierras, but King’s Canyon was a mystery.

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Mist Falls

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My first taste of hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains came in August of 2012, when I took a three day weekend and traveled up to King’s Canyon National Park in California, not knowing what to expect.  It was my first solo camping trip in ages, and I’d just heard the Park existed.  I knew about Sequoia, naturally, which extends to the south of King’s Canyon and forms one massive National Park area covering the majority of the southern end of the High Sierras, but King’s Canyon was a mystery.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 36 – Mist Falls, King’s Canyon National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 29 – Blood Red Sunset, Sequoia National Park

Blood Red Sunset

When it comes to the sunrise/sunset debate, I frankly don’t have a dog in the fight. I know this makes me terrible on first dates, I know that many will accuse me of playing to both sides because I’m weak willed, but frankly, I love them both. Call me a sun polygamist if you will, but be it up or down, I love watching the sun sit low on the horizon, period.

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Blood Red Sunset

Blood Red Sunset
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When it comes to the sunrise/sunset debate, I frankly don’t have a dog in the fight.  I know this makes me terrible on first dates, I know that many will accuse me of playing to both sides because I’m weak willed, but frankly, I love them both.  Call me a sun polygamist if you will, but be it up or down, I love watching the sun sit low on the horizon, period.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 29 – Blood Red Sunset, Sequoia National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 11 – Parting the Veil, Sequoia National Park

Parting the Veil

Parting the Veil
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Mt. Whitney.

The tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

In my years of hiking, I’ve always repeated the mantra, “Sometimes you beat the mountain, sometimes the mountain beats you.”  Whitney, that unassuming monolith at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the eastern edge of Sequoia National Park, is the one mountain that has truly beaten me.

In 2015, while descending the switchbacks on the western side of the mountain, after being turned back from a thunderstorm that swept in during my ascent, I picked up a stress fracture that ended my dreams of thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail that year.  It was a tough injury, more for the emotional and mental distress than for the physical hardships it caused.  I left Sequoia and the PCT that June defeated but determined to return, to beat the mountain that beat me so resoundingly.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” – Napoleon Hill

When most people think of Sequoia National Park, they think of the big trees, with the mountains almost an afterthought, but so much staggering beauty is out there in the backcountry of the High Sierra, waiting to be explored.  Though daunting, these mountains are some of the most dramatic, beautiful examples of wilderness we have in the U.S.  I encourage everyone to get out and explore them some time, to find their own mountain they need to beat, I know I intend to.