The second stop on my journey was Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park and Forest. Why did I come here? The giant trees!!!! This stop was probably my second favorite for the reason that I love me some trees, but this is also where I met Ziggy Rainbow (read about Ziggy here). I bought a trail map and set out for what I thought would be a moderate hike the next day. Folks, I can read a road map. I fall asleep with my road atlas next to my pillow and have been known to plot a course while driving (which is like texting while driving, so don’t do it), but I have never had any luck with trail maps. I plotted an easy 1 mile course to the General Grant tree, and from there I was to take a 2.6 mile trail which would lead to another 2.5 mile trail, and then make my way back to my tent. Welp, that didn’t happen. I’ve thought on this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that all hiking trail maps just suck, or Lover Nature just wants me to see as much as possible. My moderate hike turned into a steeply graded arduous 8-9 miles(one way) of sheer insanity. Seriously, I was sore for 3 days. Because of the fuzzy description of the trail head, I ended up going a mile out of the way and walking into the Hotshot Bunkers (Hotshots are the super cool awesome forest fighters that have an amazingly dangerous, yet important job). So, I got directions to the trailhead, and walked the mile back. That was easy-peasy. I began my hike in earnest, looking forward to the views described in the trail guide, and even planning the post I would write about it. But, the trail kept going and going without any indication of direction, and the way became steeper and steeper. By the time I realized I had somehow missed the “fork”, I knew it would make more sense to keep going than to turn around to find it and continue to the original destination. I took out the ever disappointing trail guide, realized what trail I was probably on, and figured I might as well walk that extra mile or 3 to Sequoia Lake. The only thing is, what goes steeply down, must go steeply up (and I was already at a high elevation, so much heavy breathing was involved). Many times I had to rest just to keep my heart from coming out of my chest Aliens style, or walk backwards to work a different set of muscles, and I ran out of water at least 3 miles away from my camp. When it was all said and done, I hated those trees. Luckily, I changed clothes, treated myself to a burger at the visitor center, and spent the evening chewing the fat with Ziggy as both of us admired the gorgeous night sky and stars. Plus, we got to witness a racoon stealing a bag of Doritos from a campsite right next to his, which was quite funny as the people were chasing after the racoon. Ziggy and I had both had encounters with raccoons stealing our food (a racoon ate my muffin! And it was a poppy seed one too! That’s my favorite!…the little bastard) and it was nice to laugh at it happening to someone else. We ended the evening well, and said our farewells the next morning as I prepared for a long drive through the desert. I left, crowned a Queen in Kings Canyon.