US Trip: Sequoia Day 1 - Lookout Peak

We recently returned from our first vacation back to the US since we've been living in OZ.  Yes, it took a few years, we had a lot of places to see over here that kept using up our time.  We flew out at 10 am on a cold, wintery Tuesday morning and landed in LA at 7:30 on a warm summer Tuesday morning.  Because of the early morning departure we didn't sleep much, which made the two hours it took us to get our bags and get through customs extra fun.  When we finally hit the road, our warm welcome back to LA was a freeway backed up with traffic.  Eventually we got moving on the four our drive towards Sequoia Lake, and stopped in Bakersfield for lunch so that Phil could have a taste of Chipotle. It had been four years and he had a serious craving for their burrito bowl.  We took turns stealing a few minutes of sleep on the drive and finally made up the mountains and to the lake.
Phil chowing down on Chipotle
Sequoia Lake is a YMCA family camp that my family has been going to for 31 years now.  The same groups of families go every year, so it really is home for me.  With us moving to Australia we hadn't gone in five years, but as soon as we drove down the dirt road towards camp that familiar smell hit us and it was good to be "home".  
Sequoia Lake
We arrived in the late afternoon in time to settle in and have dinner, then took a walk around the lake as we do every night after dinner.  By 7:30 we were well and truly exhausted and hit the sack.
Deer on our walk around the lake
Thirteen hours later my dad woke us up so we could hurry and grab breakfast before the kitchen closed.  Somehow we had an amazing night's sleep on the world's most uncomfortable bunk beds.  We grabbed some food, showered, and then headed out with my dad for a hike in Kings Canyon National Park.
Our cabin
We headed to Lookout Peak, a bit of a drive from camp, and enjoyed the pretty scenery along the way.  We had been to this spot once before but didn't have enough time for the hike, so had been waiting several years to actually do this hike.  We had the trail to ourselves except for a deer wandering about.  It was a steep hike straight up the hill and some of the path was a bit slippery.  A storm was rolling in as we got to the top, making the views of Kings Canyon below more dramatic.  We enjoyed the scenery for a bit, but then moved a bit lower for a lunch spot.  Didn't need to chance a lightening strike!  After lunch the clouds got even darker so we quickly headed downhill in case it started raining.
Pretty waterfall on the drive
Pretty sure I have this same picture from five years ago (with different outfits and a few less trays)
Lookout Peak from below
My dad and I on the hike
View along the way
Phil had been wanting to do this hike for five years

Made it to the top!
View of Kings Canyon below
We headed back towards the lake but decided to stop at Cedar Grove to see some of the Sequoia Trees.  We walked the short loop, then capped off the lovely day with some drinks at Grant Grove.  Then after dinner we once again did the nightly hike around the lake before an uncomfortable night on the bunk beds.
General Grant Tree
General Sherman beer


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