After hours of driving through a zigzagging highway, we arrived at the Sequoia National Park. We went on this beautiful hike, once again stunned by the majestic composition of nature. Air was never as refreshing as there; we were drunk in the richest oxygen molecules every time you inhale. Sun has never been brighter, streams of warmth embrace every inch of your skin, massage it with such tenderness. Fifty shades of blue painted the sky to the most pleasing color possible. Variety selection of trees settle along the way, stretched in a unique, even grotesque fashion.
Hiking down the trail to the hidden waterfall, it seemed like a new world just discovered. Rocks in different sizes structured a relaxing, shady temple of tranquility. The rocks next to the waterfall stream were flushed millions of times so that the surface became very smoothing, tamed by the overwhelming power of the never stopping flow. Boys stripped their clothes and threw themselves into the water. Girls lay on top of the rocks under the sun, not wasting any minute to absorb the delightful color of the sun.
Before anyone realized, two hours of time slipped through our fingertips. Gently, we scanned through the waterfall for one last time, not missing a single detail, trying our best to take in this picture and embed it in our memory. We went on another hike up a valley trail, seeing the oddly constructed pieces of gigantic rock on the mountain top, covered with a skinny layer of snow. No matter how far we went in, that mountain top still seems unreachable. I chose to stop my footsteps, look up to the mountain and bow down wholeheartedly to nature.
Big Kitty Xue
Today we all woke up around 8:00 am, ate a quick breakfast, and hit the road, our destination the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. During our hour-long ride to the Park, the only conversation topic was the Great Sequoia. Everyone was ready to stand beside the beasts, dwarfed by their epic size. But as it turns out, our RV’s, thirty-one feet in length, were far too large to traverse the twisting and turning park roads. The road was covered in signs encouraging no vehicles above twenty-two feet to pass.
Our inability to drive the twenty-mile stretch necessary to reach the Giant Sequoias put an instant damper on our day, but we were determined to make our drive worthwhile. We entered the park and drove about four miles in. We found a beautiful parking lot, one that could fit our RV’s, and began our hike. After about five minutes of exploring, following the sound of the river, we found a chill spot where we could spend our day.
Giant boulders, left there during some ancient ice age, and lush green plants were scattered around a large pool of calm water in an otherwise temperamental river. Instantly all the boys stripped to their shorts, some even to their underwear, and hopped into the frigid waters. Some of the braver girls also hopped in, but most lay themselves on top of smooth boulders to begin tanning for the day. After cooling ourselves down in the refreshing river waters, many of us ventured off to find a way to the other side of the river. We found two paths; one called for leaps from boulder to boulder and the other a small swim across a swiftly moving current in the icy waters. Eventually we all made it across. We found hundred-foot boulders, a collection of smaller pools, mandarin colored salamanders and even sighted a yeti.
Yetis aside, it was a truly incredible day. The sun lowered and as it cooled down some of us left the park in order to prepare our Jamaican style potluck: jerk chicken, vegetable curry, and plantains. The rest went on a 2-mile hike in order to get a better view of the park and to take a few more photos. Finally, with the sun below the mountains, the entire crew had returned to the RV Park. Campfire lit, reggae music playing, and delicious food in our mouths was the perfect end to what had turned out to be a perfect day.