We have left the playful barking sea lions, the clanging cable cars, the innumerable restaurant choices, the unbathed homeless people, uber rides, and the hilly streets of San Francisco to start our RV adventure.
We are now traveling as a hermit crab does, with his bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and transportation all wrapped up in one package. Chris and I have our roles and I think we work together with synchronicity. Chris drives the behemoth, sets up charging cords and speakers, oils the squeaky doors, and tends to the camp fire. I organize, keep things swept and tidy, navigate, find cheap gas, and make the peanut butter and jelly while Chris pumps the gas into the deep tank.
I wake up before the sun rises. It is a brisk morning in Pinnacles National Park and we are camped in a secluded, treed spot. I walk out of the campsite up the camp road a bit and my senses are so alive that I can feel the texture of my flip flops on the soles of my tough feet. The sky is becoming blue; the birds are flitting and chirping; the conifers emit that fresh piney fragrance that alerts you to their presence, and I can feel myself breathing. I see the scrabbly footprints around our picnic table from the raccoon visitors who most likely scooped up the remnant breadcrumbs from our previous night’s dinner. I plant my feet on the ground, straighten my spine, fill my lungs, and look up in the sky; my gratitude is overflowing. We are lucky to be here.
Chris maneuvers the RV up, up, up as we ascend into King’s Canyon/Sequoia National Park at over 7000 feet above sea level. We travel along the park road into the Sequoia National Forest and find our way to Stony Creek Campground. It is a piney area with shafts of sunlight shining through the trees. After getting the RV leveled, Chris builds a blazing fire, we open a bottle of red wine; we absorb and enjoy. I look up through the clearing in the trees and see one bright star. As the sky darkens, there are more and more pinprick stars and it is dizzying. We philosophize about the vastness of what is above us….
About 14 or so miles up the road, stands the largest tree (largest is defined by the volume of its trunk, in this case) in the world – the General Sherman tree which is estimated to be about 2000 years old!. There are many people visiting and it is impressive – we decide to go a little further up Congress Trail to experience more of these majestic and nearly everlasting trees. Of course, this is black bear country and we are lucky enough to see a bear lumbering through the Giant Forest not far from the path. There are many sequoias – some in groves and others fairly separate; some are named (McKinley, President, the Senate, etc.). I touch the base of one of the gigantic trees – the bark feels like a scratchy wool fabric and as I gently tap it, the noise sounds almost hollow. It is not what I expect. Again, the fragrance is prevalent and beautifully aromatic.
We have arrived at Red Rock Canyon State Park. We are camping in a sparsely attended, primitive Ricardo Campground. We have left the lush woods and are in rocky, sandy, and dramatic landscape amongst the gusts of wind, joshua trees, textured rock formations, and the ubiquitous silence..We have another clear, crisp, starlit night. Time for wine and another campfire.