View north beyond the Middle Fork of the Kings River from Monarch Divide

View north beyond the Middle Fork of the Kings River from Monarch Divide

One fall my hiking buddy and I drove into Kings Canyon National Park. The road climbs into Sequoia groves at over 6,000 feet, then plunges 3,000 feet into the depths of the canyon of the South Fork of the Kings River. From the road hanging on the mountainside, the view encompasses the deep canyon flanked by high ridges, culminating in 12,000 foot peaks near its head. Directly across the canyon, the opposite wall rises eight thousand feet without a break.

In the canyon we left the car and started up the trail toward the crest of the Monarch Divide between the South and Middle Forks over six thousand feet above. After camping the first night halfway up, we gained the crest the next day and set up a scenic camp with broad views.

The following day, we explored this relatively gentle section of crest and found a spot to sit and soak in the view beyond the Middle Fork. Side canyons and basins reached beyond the treeline to broad expanses of sun-drenched granite striped with narrow cloud shadows, and to peaks reaching for the sky.

It was a majestic scene, and we found ourselves in the middle of it. What a privilege to be there and to be part of it.

Experiences like this remind me, wherever I may be, that this grand country is there now, and it is part of the round world that I’m walking on. The sky above is the same sky that stretches over those mountains. Grass growing from a crack in the sidewalk I’m walking is the same kind of grass growing in mountain meadows. Wherever I am, I’m home in an unimaginably wonderful world.


About David McCoard

After earning my MS in geology I've done various things including managing the ski touring program at a small lodge in the Sierra. In 2010 I retired from Contra Costa College in California. I've always been fascinated by the mountains and nature and have spent countless days hiking, backpacking, climbing and skiing in the Sierra. The spiritual insights I've learned there have set the course for my life. Now I have time to share them and strike up a conversation.
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