Day 1: Arrival

Route 41 on the drive in. Lots of cows, dead grass, barbed wire, and warning signs. (Andre took this photo.)

Windy, dusty, route 41 (or maybe 46). (Doug)

Once out of Fresno, the apparent armpit of California, we started up the mountains towards Kings Canyon. (Doug)

Another shot off of the 180 headed up the mountains. (Doug)

A provocative depiction of man versus nature. Here, Andre contemplates the vast canyon before him as his sweaty shirt clings to his back. (Doug, obviously.)

Doug scrutinizes the canyon. (Andre)

Here, overwhelmed with awe, Andre expresses his raging torrent of emotion. (Andre)

A picture of the canyon from one of the many turnouts along the 180 headed down into Kings Canyon. (Andre)

Doug and Petunia. (Andre)

The first night's campsite. Petunia hides behind a tree and bush as the tents bask in the late afternoon sun. The viewer might note that this photo depicts a campground. Thanks to the early closing of the wilderness permit office, Doug and Andre had no choice but to spend the first night here and get an early start the next day. (Andre)

The river just down the hill from the campground. (Andre)

...and looking up-river towards the mountains. (Andre)

It may appear that Andre is here submerging his unseen, shoed foot in the Kings River. But rest assured, dear viewer, that as Andre is further downstream, his foot (and shoe) are simply resting on unseen rock. (Doug)

Weird moss growing on a tree near the river. (Andre)

Looking up at a couple of trees near the river. Moss abounds on the branches of the tree on the left. (Andre)

Still day 1: Forest fires!

On the Southern cliff of the main canyon, lightening had started several small fires. Several controlled burns were maintained throughout the week. During the day, only the smoke was visible... (Andre)

...but during the night the full fire could be seen. (Andre)

The previous photo had a long exposure and made the smoke look like fire too. Here's what the fire actually looked like. (Andre)

Here, Doug and Andre feign responsibility for the blaze behind them. (Andre with timer.)

Redwood silhouette with stars. (Andre)

Day 2: The (Killer) Hike

The next morning, after acquiring wilderness permit and mandatory bear can (not pictured), Andre and Doug pose at the trailhead. Andre sports a goofy face, while Doug does something weird with his hands. This will be the last photo taken by Andre's camera which was mysteriously left in the car for the duration of the trek. (Andre with timer.)

Nearly the entire first half of the hike was through pine forests which had been through fires. Most of the trees survived (though charred), but occasionally a big dead one stuck out. (Doug)

A still-energetic Doug (pre-11.5 mile hike). (Andre)

Ditto a sun-protected Andre. (Andre)

The first trail junction. Starting at Lewis Creek trailhead, we went all the way to Kennedy Pass and beyond, via Frypan Meadow (which would be our campsite on the return hike). (Andre)

A lean Andre displaying his physique as he stretches near the Hotel Creek trail junction. The packs look on from a charred, nearby stump. (Doug)

A big, burnt trunk. (Doug)

Closeup of a semi-charred trunk. Note the professional inclusion of the camera strap in the lower left corner of the picture. (Doug)

A flying chunk of wood above a fallen tree. (Doug)

Looking down towards Comb Creek. Neat! (Doug)

A view of the valley from the switchbacks up towards Kennedy Pass. (Doug)

Holy fucking shit! A fucking bear! It was up on the trail in front of us and snuck behind this stump as we passed. We took a few pictures of it before screaming and flailing (as instructed by a ranger). We totally scared the sucker off... thus earning our team moniker. (Andre)

A clearly shaken black bear flees from Team Bear Scare. (Andre)

Sunset from near the top of Kennedy pass. A nice view, but this meant that we'd be coming into camp in the dark. (Doug)

Same sunset, different view. Looking east. (Doug)

The switchbacks leading up to Kennedy Pass. Eight are visible in this picture. Our map made the trail look like the trail went straight up the pass, but given the closeness of the contours, we knew better. There were a lot of these suckers and by this time, thanks to thin air and 10 previous miles of hiking, progressed slowed to a crawl. Breaks were taken at nearly every switchback. (Doug)

Day 3: The Campsite at Kennedy Pass

We set up camp in the dark, but when we woke up the next morning, holy shit! The switchbacks leading down the North side of Kennedy Pass are on the left. We set up camp right next to this little unnamed pond. We had thought it was East Kennedy Lake, but found out otherwise the next morning. (Doug)

So we decided to throw the camera up in the air with the self-timer on. The arrow points to the actual campsite with our pond visible on the left.

Throwing the camera up even higher, East Kennedy Lake is visible (to the East...). "Google" is visibly written in several places on the terrain. Interestingly, this phenomenon was not perceptible at ground level and Doug and Andre did not notice it until reviewing the aerial photography. (For further exploration of a bird's-eye-view of the area, please refer to this page.)

The tents among the boulders near the ridge. We didn't sleep so hot the night before. We hadn't really adjusted to the altitude and our pulses were so loud and hearts racing so fast that we could barely fall asleep. (Doug)

A big old dead sequoia (I think) right near the campsite. (Andre)

Doug prowling the campsite with Lake Team Bear Scare (previously known as the unnamed, uncharted pond) in the background. (Andre)

Ditto. (Andre)

Doug extending his patrol. Here he inspects some of the boulders just East of the campsite. (Andre)

Alpine self portrait. (Andre)

The real East Kennedy Lake. It's a lot further than it looks and that's snow around the East bank. Andre hiked/slid/clambered/fell down to it for a closer look, while Doug fretted about his surely lost companion and thought of looking for his bloody corpse. But Andre was busy sliding down the pink snow and staining his pants and pack towel. The lake was awesome! Andre, still alive, jumped in (and right the fuck out again), washed his socks, and found the campsite that the trail guide had recommended. It would have been nearly impossible to find it the night before thanks to the lack of trail leading to the lake (and lack of light). (Andre)

Andre hydrating and tempting the cliff. (Doug)

The small pond just below East Kennedy Lake (not pictured, but up to the right). The trail went through the small grove of trees and down into the canyon. Access to the actual lake was via a scramble up the large boulders on the right (a near impossibility with packs). (Doug)

Andre mugging/Doug hydrating (with Andre's water bottle and getting his cooties all over it).

Team photo with Lake Team Bear Scare. (Doug with timer.)

One last look at the lake on the ascent back up to Kennedy Pass. There were bear tracks in the pond-bottom on the West bank suggesting the presence of some type of sub-marine bear. (Doug)

Days 3 and 4: The Hikes Down and Out

Andre. Clearly hurting. (Doug)

Kings Canyon chainsaw massacre. (Andre)

An uprooted pine tree near the trail heading back down to Frypan Meadow. (Doug)

Trees. (Doug)

One of several burnt-out meadows along the trail. It looks like Road Runner just escaped being in the picture, but those white things are flowers. (Doug)

A big dead tree (obviously). (Andre)

Ditto. Different tree. (Andre)

Bear dookie. Confirming, once and for all, that bears do indeed shit in the woods. (Andre)

Andre fondling an innocent manzanita tree. (Doug)

Doug's nasty, sweat-stained shirt. He described it thusly: "it's like if a heart had arms and was flexing it's muscles." (Doug)

The trip's only injury (blisters aside). (Doug)

Day 4: Drive Out / Giant Sequoias

The view of the canyon on the way out. (Doug)

One last shot of the lower canyon from down inside. With a neat little cloud too! (Andre)

Doug, the tourist, hiding the seething, post-hike pain in his legs. Also, there's a gigantic sequoia behind him. (Andre)

Artsy-fartsy shot of another big sequoia. (Andre)

Ditto. (Andre)

The General Grant (the widest, but only third largest-by-volume, tree in the world). According to the informative plaque, it would take 37,000,000 ping-pong balls to fill it and if a car had a gas tank the size of it, said car would be able to travel around the world 350 times. Yowza! (Andre)

Inspired by the large trees nearby, Doug poses atop Petunia in the third largest parking spot in the world. (Andre)

Doug's Panoramas!

On a 180 turnout, entering the park. (Andre's trying to figure out why there's a weird "seam" in the mountains just to the right of where he appears in the picture. It's almost as if some "photo-stitching" software got a hold of the scenery.)

Panorama from a rock near the Kennedy Pass campsite.

360 at the top of Kennedy Pass.

View from the trail looking back up towards Kennedy Pass and the surrounding ridge.

The Nation's (37,000,000) ping-pong ball Christmas tree.