It’s been a passionate four-and-a-half month love affair with the desert but this week we said goodbye to her and with a six pack of porter and a take-out pizza we entered the mountains and giant forests of Sequoia National Forest and National Park.
Normally this area would be blanketed in snow but California’s drought has left the foothills barren and dry. Not so great for the wilderness or the State of California but great for a couple of people looking to do some snow-free mountain hiking.
We hiked (and I later ran) a section of the famed Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the National Forest across grasslands and sugar pine forest, periodically joining woodpeckers, scrub jays, ruby-crowned kinglets and red-shafted flickers.
In Sequoia National Park it seemed wherever we walked red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches sang. Acorn woodpeckers and Douglas squirrels abounded.
And, of course, we revelled beneath majestic Sequoias, heralded as the largest (by volume) trees in the world. With heads tilted up, eyes mesmerized by the canopy we slipped and tripped along the trails then woke with stiff necks the following morning. Then we set off again for more stumbling in awe.