Though I am a huge fan of taking a vacation in your mind, sometimes it’s just nice to physically go somewhere else to recharge and gain inspiration.
And what place can be better than nature when you want tranquility and inspiration?
A few weeks ago I was able to go to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for three total days, and with my new camera, I was able to challenge myself to try and capture the beauty of the place with photographs — and now words.
Surprisingly, the first day at Sequoia and Kings Canyon was the day where my family and I were able to go to the most places — Hume Lake and the Grant Grove.
Now, two places might not sound like much when I just list them, but I find that when I’m camping, one or two destinations are sometimes more than enough — I don’t want to operate on a strictly timed schedule when I’m camping.
I love how I don’t glance at my watch when I’m hiking. The thought of how much time an activity is taking slips from my mind, which is such a stark contrast to the almost feverish, constant need to look at the time when I’m at home. So much of my daily life is dictated by how much time I have before and after and in between activities — five minutes between classes, thirty minutes for lunch, if I go to bed now I’ll get eight hours of sleep — and to be able to finally not worry what time of the day it is so…
Like the world is timeless, if only for a moment.
That’s one of the most beautiful moments one can have in nature.
I wanted to make it my goal to notice things that I wouldn’t usually notice while hiking, and capture those things with my camera. After parking, I put a macro lens on my camera and set off with the intention of seeing more than I would normally see.
It’s really interesting how many little things we overlook every single day. Most of the things that we overlook don’t really matter, I suppose, in the big picture of our lives. We don’t really need to see how the ground glimmers as sunlight hits iron pyrite speckled on the ground at just the right angle. We can ignore how the sap on the side of a cut tree trunk fades from bronze to honey to a fiery red that reminds you of a vibrant sunset. The dried leaf with it’s crinkly leaves and browned veins may look gorgeous underneath the sun, but if we miss the way the cracked part of the leaf opens a window to the sky, our life won’t be completely, utterly changed.
Yet we do sometimes notice. I noticed these things around Hume Lake.
And once I noticed, these little things suddenly mattered.
Does that mean that nothing matters until we notice them and pay attention to them? That sharpened pencil lost at the bottom of the backpack doesn’t matter until I realize that all my mechanical pencils are out of lead. Reaching into my backpack and pulling out that forgotten pencil momentarily makes it very important.
And it’s the same with things in nature. I could have walked past everything little and hard to see. I didn’t have to crouch down to take macro pictures of shells and insects and frogs and flowers and leaves — but I did, because noticing these things made me feel like I was getting to know the place more, and therefore allowed me to fully appreciate the beauty of Hume Lake in its entirety.
It’s not possible to care about something you have no idea exists. I think it’s important for everything to go out of their way to try and notice as much as they can around them, because we might find that something we’ve overlooked is something that we’ll grow to care about, or appreciate, or love — like a picture of something only you saw while hiking on the Hume Lake Trail.
The Hume Lake Trail is a short hike that curves around Hume Lake, and the entire hike is absolutely gorgeous. It doesn’t go deep into the forest, and as a result, I did pass by people along the hike and couldn’t experience the feeling of pure solitude and peace that I always experience in places like Death Valley National Park. I felt like it was an interesting combination between a recreational area and nature, and the signs placed throughout the trail accurately showed how human activity collides with the forces of nature on this trail.
After hiking around Hume Lake, I arrived back to the car and experimented with taking pictures around the area again, when suddenly —
That picture right there is the result of hard work and persistence, everyone. The deer had leisurely walked along the shore of the lake when it suddenly ran up into the forest, where a few campsites were located. I had to walk painstakingly slow as to not make too much noise (the ground was covered in branches and leaves at this point) and startle the deer in order to get close enough to it to get a detailed picture.
Finally I was able to take the perfect picture of the deer above, and after that, I put down my camera and just… watched. And observed.
Though capturing memories with photographs is definitely important, I also believe that soaking the moment in without the interference of something like your phone or a camera is just as important. When I look at the picture above, I think of the satisfaction I felt once I snapped the shot of the deer, but I also think of the five minutes I stood there, unmoving and silent, as I watched the deer walk around me, searching the ground for food. Those five minutes of silence and observation and being with the deer was more precious to me than the picture I took above.
Oh. And I also saw it pee. And poop. 😅
It was when that happened that I decided I should probably leave to respectfully give the deer some privacy.
That was my experience hiking around Hume Lake! Hope you enjoyed the photos!
Thanks for reading, and remember — go out of your way to notice things. 😊
Cya next time!