Once again we awoke relatively early and started our nice camping routine of seeing who is already up.
Today we had our own morning planned and after saying good morning to gramps, my mom and the few others who were up, Rachel and I jumped in the Jeep and headed down to Moro Rock.
This was something I had been looking forward to and Rachel, having never seen the view, was a little less than excited. I would show her by the end of the morning.
As we coursed our way along the mountain road to the rock we saw the Giant’s Forest in the new light of morning. It always amazes me how different a place can look when the sunlight shines through the pines from a different direction. Along the way, Rachel saw a deer on the side of the road and we found a quaint little meadow that was by all means one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen on the side of a road.
Wild golden flowers stood on stalks as tall as a person. The sunlight streamed in between the branches of the Sequoias on the east side of the meadow, and bumble bees buzzed excitedly as they danced around. It was wonderful.
Rachel immediately saw it as an opportunity to test her photography skills and give me a lesson in the crafting of a perfect picture. As I am her own personal photographer she though it appropriate that I learn a thing or two.
For awhile we were the only two there and it could be no better of a moment. We took tons of photos and the few provided here only show a glimpse of the perfection of that place.
After while, more and more cars started pulling of to the spot, as I said it was visible directly from the road, and they all asked if we wanted them to take a picture of us. We got a few and returned the favor more than once. Before long though our little meadow had started to get crowded and so we got back into the Jeep and made our way further along towards Moro Rock.
I was previously unaware that the road to the rock was closed on weekends and we were momentarily discouraged until we found out that a shuttle was provided between the museum parking lot off the main road and the small lot at the base of the rock about 2 miles or so away.
We found parking in the quickly-filling-up lot and made our way to the shuttle. The shuttle wound its way through pieces of the Giant’s grove and the shuttle drivers managed to squeeze their vehicles around corners that would make anyone but the most skilled drivers cringe.
Eventually we made it to the base of the rock and could see that in no time at all it was going to get crowded up on that rock. So we wasted little time in beginning our ascent of the 400 plus steps carved into the side of the granite.
Even from the first few steps we could see that the views were unbelievable. The high peaks to the east were a sight to behold, unfortunately that is where the sun was so our photos were not taken in the best light. Or so I have been informed by my constant teacher. We were having a wonderful time, hiking up the stone hewn steps and stopping every ten seconds to take another picture as the magnificent vistas changed with each turn of the path. It seemed every second one of us would look at the other and just had to capture that exact second in a photograph that we will have forever.
We squeezed through narrow paths between stone, wound our way up switchback steps, and moved to the side as we passed people and people passed us going both up and down. All the while we laughed as we do and gazed in awe at the alien world of the high sierras.
It took a few breaks and a couple bottles of water but eventually we made it to the top. We had 360 degrees of uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains. Shear drops of hundreds of feet fell away on three sides of our vantage point, but none of that mattered. I have always been drawn to mountains and I was happy to share this incredible place with Rachel. I find that, in a place like that, it is easy to imagine that we two were alone even as there were other tourists moving in and out of our vicinity and views. But we just stood there, holding each other, taking selfies as you do these days, and enjoying each other’s company.
While the way up is tiring, I have always found that the path down any mountain is the more challenging. It is hard on the joints and it is far easier to trip and lose control but we made our way carefully back to the bottom. There we briefly ran into my aunt and cousin who were just starting their ascent to the top. We assured them that the views were definitely worth it and bid them a safe hike.
As for the two of us, we made our way via shuttle and foot back to the Jeep and drove off for a good lunch at Lodgepole, which is a pretty fantastic little stop up in the Sequoia National Park. All in all it proved to be a very pleasant morning on what would end up being a pretty incredible day.