Four months ago, my best friend Matt and I went on our annual backpacking trip. This year we returned to the Sierra Nevadas. This trip was a real treat for us for multiple reasons. First, Matt lives in Chattanooga so seeing each other in any context is a blessing. On top of that, we had the privilege of spending the week with our friend Mark who lives in California (on the East side of the majestic mountain range). Finally, did I mention that we were in the Sierras! Any time spend in nature is great, but this is one of the best backcountry destinations one can imagine.

We did the Big Five and Little Five Lakes loop starting from the west side of the range at Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. For reference,,-118.532481&z=13&t=p&hl=en-US

The following is from my daily trail journal:

August 28, 2011

It is great to be back in the Sierras again. Tonight is the first of our week-long loop. I am sharing a tent with Mark and Matt is solo in the other tent. It’s wild to think that just yesterday, Matt and I were eating In-N-Out outside the airport in LA. Tonight we’re camped above Lower Franklin Lake at more than two miles above sea level!

We hiked a good six miles; and gained a good 2500’ of elevation today. Our reward is a beautiful country to smell and see. Unbelievable flowers along almost the entire journey today. Spectacular waterfalls along the creek that we followed for most of the day. The subtle, reverberant white noise of a waterfall across the lake and the creek in the far distance. The sunset was amazing in both beauty and duration. And even now, the stars are gorgeous on this moonless eve.

Here’s a photo I took at our camp that night. For more photos, visit my Google+ gallery.