The Week I Visited The Largest Tree In The World


  • Fall is upon us and I found some BEAUTIFUL fall colors
  • The largest tree in the WORLD
  • Learning the skill of cold water plunges
  • Incredible night sky photography
  • An unexpectedly difficult hike
  • A peek into the spontaneity of life on the road

October 2022


Where In The World Was I?

  • Fresno, CA
  • Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks
  • Alabama Hills
  • Big Pine Canyon
  • Bishop, CA

📍Fresno Pit Stop

Got a couple nice coffee shop sessions in at Collect Coffee Bar and The Frappe House at CrossCity. It felt good to get back into some flow. I also fulfilled my boba addiction while I was there 🤪

📍Kings Canyon National Park

Wow. A beautiful place that absolutely deserves more time to be explored. This place gave me some Glacier National Park (and Yosemite) vibes with how steep the canyons/mountains are. I just drove down the canyon and did a quick hike (Zumwalt Meadow) before heading back out.

📍Sequoia National Park

After heading out from Kings Canyon I stopped by the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. All I can say is wow, again. It’s hard to describe the feeling of walking amongst some of the oldest and largest trees on the planet. I walked the Congress Trail and was just left speechless. Such an amazing feeling.

Here’s a video of some perspective:

On my way out, I saw a momma bear hundreds of feet up in a tree shaking pine cones down to her cub 🤯 And then I watched her shimmy all the way down – badass!

Cold Water Plunges in Sequoia National Forest

I found a campsite in some national forest between the two parks and camped for a night. The next day I was in search of a hidden treasure.

I had heard there was a stream and some pools just down the hill from the site. After some morning meditation I went to check things out! I felt like an explorer, curious and driven by adventure.

I had been thinking of taking a plunge in the water at some point but after I found the stream and dipped my feet in I felt a frigid shock through my lower body. Mixed with the cold morning air, I thought, “phew, nah it’s too cold, I’ll try later today when it’s warmer.” However, it had been a solid 15 minutes of bushwhacking hundreds of feet down this hill that made me think, “but, com’on, did I really come all this way to not jump in?”

So I took off my shirt (and my shorts 🤪) and threw them on the rocks, then carefully waded in. After a couple seconds of shivering I started the countdown from 10, and on 1, submerged my whole body. Chills running over my skin and adrenaline throughout my body I rushed back towards the rock. But, steps from getting out, I thought, “man that actually feels really refreshing” and went back for another dunk.

Later in the day I went back again and it was much easier than that first time. It was incredibly refreshing, but I also wanted another chance to practice building this “skill.” Like I said in last week’s post Life Update September 25th, 2022, I see these cold plunges as building mental toughness, as getting comfortable pushing through discomfort. I think I’ve started to get over that initial hump because one thing I was telling myself this time was “okay, I literally know exactly what to expect, I’ve done this before, it’s just a few seconds of discomfort I need to get through.”

Each plunge adds evidence to a foundation that I can leverage for the next plunges.

📍Alabama Hills

The next stop was to make it to the eastern side of the Sierras!

The sky that night was INCREDIBLE. I took some photos with my camera (night photography is still new to me) and just sat there looking up at the stars. That bright “star” in the second photo is FREAKIN’ JUPITER 🤯

The next morning I got up for sunrise 👌

An Unexpected Hike In Big Pine Canyon

After the Alabama Hills I start making my way up the Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway in search of some fall colors. The first recommendation was Big Pine Canyon. I did absolutely zero research on hikes, or really anything in the canyon. When I got up there I saw a handwritten map at the trailhead that showed some lakes up the canyon and the time and elevation listed for various destinations along the trails. I honestly wasn’t really planning on doing a hike so I looked for something easier and short-ish.

Next to First Lake it listed “moderate” (there was nothing listed as “easy”), 3 1/4 hrs, and an elevation of ~10,000′. 1.5 hrs out and 1.5 hours back seemed like a reasonable hike so I grabbed my stuff and headed out. There was no length or change in elevation listed though, so I kinda felt like I was going in blind. Juuuuust in case, I brought an extra water and threw some food in my pack.

The trail started by basically climbing straight UP the canyon. Starting out at ~7,700′ of elevation (I looked this up later), I was breathing heavily about 10 minutes into the hike 😬 I started to think… okay this might be a bit tougher than I thought.

About 1.5 hours in, I was… about halfway there 😅 That’s when the doubts crept into my mind… Here’s a little peek into my thoughts at this moment.

But I kept pushing through. The yellow aspens were absolutely GORGEOUS. This was exactly what I had been looking for.

During the last section up to the lake my mind got pretty busy with thoughts so I decided to turn on my audio recorder and talk things out. I call these sessions “podcasts,” but I’ve never published any. I think this was Season 2 Episode 4. I talked through quite a lot: desire, adversity, motivation, business, failure, plans for the next month, recent thoughts. It was actually quite fun and passed the time well.

Eventually we made it! The views were beautiful. I soaked it in for a bit before heading back down (and recording part 2 of the podcast).

No headlamp needed this time 🙂

In the end, I was NOT expecting to hike this much, but it was absolutely worth it once I reframed my mind.

The Spontaneity Of Life On The Road

The next morning I made my way up to Bishop, CA for a nice urban work day at Looney Bean cafe. I finally just put my head down and went through photos in my “backlog” and got a bunch posted! Check out my Photography Posts for some new stuff!

I spent the afternoon at the park, took a walk, read, and then went on a run later in the day. What happened this day was what I absolutely love about life on the road.

On my walk in the park I stumbled into a car show!

On my run I ran over to the local high school track and came across a high school football game. I took out my phone to record a play and accidentally caught a 50-yard touchdown RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

I left the school and was just thinking about how I love the spontaneity of finding these little events and tidbits of culture in towns across the U.S. Just then, I heard some music in the distance so I went to check things out and stumbled across a mariachi band concert!

They were really good! It brought me back to my days listening to drum corps shows with this powerful wall of sound that you can feel throughout your body. There’s nothing like that feeling.

(Warning: Loud! 😄)

I’m having trouble describing this whole experience in words. There’s something about finding events like these, about exploring these towns that brings a smile to my face. A high school football game or town event doesn’t really seem that big or exciting. If I lived here, I’m not sure I would have appreciated these little moments as much, but this absolutely made my day. I feel like there’s something really special about that.

What’s Next

Last week I was headed DOWN the Sierras, this week I’m headed UP the Sierras (but on the other side)!


One Comment

  1. Your face is next to “Adventurer” in the dictionary. Holy Hike-o-meter! Glad it was worth it and that your are bumping into Americana along the way.

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