It was with a heavy heart that I decided not to return to the Sierra this summer to work another season working in Kings Canyon National Park. A better opportunity awaited and I had to take that leap into a full time career but, I sure do miss those mountains.

So with a few days off I headed back to the place where I spent two of the best summers of my life not only to see the beauty but to be amongst friends. The best kind of friends, parkies.

I made many new friends, reconnected with old ones, and was welcomed like a brother by all. We formed a ragtag band of gypsies playing flutes, Bulgarian bagpipes, and whatever else we could find and then joined the annual 4th of July parade in Grant Grove. My new mate Rob and I climbed to the top of Alta peak (11,204 ft) where we could see Mt. Whitney in the distance. It was a much needed retreat and I feel as though I will always have a friend and somewhere to stay up there for a long time to come.