Monday, July 28, 2008

Nature Bound - Camping In The Sequoias

Sequoia National Forest

A few weeks ago, my mother sent a mass email to my (being Latino, typically large) family, stating that she decided that she and my aunt were going camping, and being of the proactive sort, had already booked the campsite.

The designated location was the 'Three Rivers Hideaway', up near the Sequoia National Forest. I had to work, so I couldn't ask for the three days off she was asking for, but as a compromise, I did take the weekend off, and corraled one of my best friends into going with me. This is what happens when you're good friends with me, by the way. You get semi-adopted by the family and have to deal with bugs, birds, and lots and lots of little chatty cousins who hang on you constantly.

Fair warning, right?

Anyway, Friday at work proved to be particularly brutal, so I ended up oversleeping on Saturday morning. The result? We were a little late getting on the road, which was just fine with Sam, because she is NOT a morning person, and still insists that getting on the road at 8AM is not getting on the road late at all. My dad, who called at 6AM and wondered openly why we weren't on the road yet, did not agree. Agree to disagree then. Sheesh. ;-) But then again, she could have also been grumpy because my big ass SUV did not have air conditioning. Either way, interesting morning.

Three Rivers Hideaway

When we finally arrived at Three Rivers, we discovered a small, empty hot-as-hell campsite, with only my grandmother as the patron. The rest of the family was at the watering hole, so Sam and I went down to join them, and discovered a little cove where the river was quiet, except for the kids, the parents, and the dogs.

There was tons of tadpoles and fish, and because it was hot as hell, Sam and I soon joined them. I'm somewhat of a nature freak, who also becomes a bit of an idiot when it comes to camping, so it was quite soon before I got tired of the little peaceful lagoon and proceeded to convince Sam to join me into going UP the river current, slipping on rocks and feeling our way with hands and feet, to get up to where the river forked. Down the ways we spotted another lagoon, and then as the current grew stronger, discovered we could actually 'ride' the current like a wave down the other side.

Three Rivers Hideaway

This was actually quite fun until we discovered that about seven kids had followed us over the dangerous rocks, and were now ready to slide on down themselves.

"We're setting a bad example, aren't we?" I asked, immediately forced to be an adult.
"Lil' bit," Sam replied, and not wanting to be responsible for any accidental drownings, we headed grudgingly back to the boring and peaceful lagoon.

Here's the thing about camping for me. I like it. I do. I don't mind tents. When I was fifteen I lived in one for two months when I was in the Philippines. But I either want to REALLY rough it, you know, with trails and lakes and digging a hole for your poop, or I want to be in a nice hotel with a television with air conditioning and a swimming pool. Being in a camp with nothing to do or nowhere to go gets boring fast. We ended up playing uno all night with the kids, and then embarking on a long, long walk in search of ice cream. We followed the road, and the entire time I kept thinking two things: a) My feet hurt. b) This is so the setting for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or that creepy movie with Emily Blunt where she's stranded on a road and that ghost cop comes... So we gave up after about two miles, and joked to our selves that it was 'just around the river bend'. Stupid ice cream.

Night time fell, and we shared a cabin with my grandmother. During the night I had a dark, disturbing dream involving lesbians and zombies and a camp ground and lot of violence and assault. Fun stuff. Morning arrived and I was called to my aunt's tent, because my uncle had apparently already gotten up, and she needed someone to 'level out the air mattress'. Right.

It was time for the Sequoias. Yep, down to the National Park Sam and I went, for lots of picture taking and scenery. The problem is, we only had a few hours and well, that place is big. The bigger problem: we had no gas. Like, we forgot to fill up and so halfway through tripping around great big trees and oohing and ahhing over great landscapes, we discovered the gas meter reading at red. What followed was a grand, hilarious, stupid game of discovering how far we could get down the mountain (after an hour of driving) with no gas and going downhill with no foot on the pedal.

Sequoia Park Rangers? How about a gas station less than 100 miles away? You think? Maybe? Please? Sheesh.

Too bad, though. We were so worried about gas we had a hard time enjoying ourselves, but the views were fantastic:

Sequoia National Forest

Check Out More pics at my flickr account.

Oh yeah, after we went to get gas (and didn't stall! Hooray!), we found the ice cream store. It literally was maybe twenty feet before we turned back the night before.

Stupid ice cream. Stupid YUMMY ice cream!

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