Sequoia National Park 
We drove to Sequoia National Park and went to see the second largest tree in the world, General Grant. We then decided to head to the Redwood Mountain Grove which has many large trees. Unfortunately, there were 2 hiking loops that were both 6 miles long. We chose one that looked interesting and took that not really expecting to do the entire loop. We saw some huge stumps from an old logging camp, the Hart Tree, which is one of the largest sequoias, and Fallen Goliath, which was a huge sequoia that feel down a long time ago. I assume at least a couple hundred years ago. We did end up doing the entire loop which was a bit painful after our many miles from the last couple days. However, we did get to see a momma Black Bear and her three cubs. They were across a creek from the trail we were on which was nice. I felt no need to meet one on the trail.


General Grant. This tree is about 40 feet in diameter and the second largest tree in the world (by volume).

A very large stump from when a logging camp was there many years ago.

A large, dead, burned out sequoia.

There were places were there would be a number of large sequoias near each other. This is part of the trail. Joe and I were basically in the middle of the triangle (so the tree on the left is actually slightly in front of us)

Toan and I standing near the roots on the Fallen Goliath.

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Yosemite Hike 
We decided to go for a hike and camp in the wilderness today. We got a wilderness permit (free) and packed up our packs to hike up to El Capitan. The guy at the place that gave us the permit said it was about 8 miles (one way) with an elevation change of about 3000 feet. We hiked for about 4 miles, had lunch, then kept on going up the steepest part of the hike. We only made it another two miles to where it flattened out before we decided to just make camp. Plus, the sign at the start of the hike said El Capitan was 10 miles away, not 8. We dropped our stuff off at camp and Joe and I decided to see if we could make it to the mountain. Well, we did... but it was another 4 miles... one way. We just about doubled our hike. The view was awesome, but we were hurting pretty bad by the time we got back to camp where Toan was sitting waiting for us with a fire going. Dinner sure tasted good. :)

Our camp. Toan is trying to warm up by the fire while Joe's working on getting dishes clean enough for breakfast.

Our break spot by a stream on our way back.

El Capitan from the top. Joe and I didn't hike all the way out, or even onto, the mountain. This view was pretty spectacular. The valley was huge!

El Capitan from the ground in front of it in Yosemite Valley. Where we were standing the day before is just to the left in the photo.

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Holy Shmolly Catacombs Conquered 
I can't believe Miranda Followed me through that Dungeon!!! Imagine the scariest possible Formations, And Layout, and thats what the catacombs were. We were completely underground, Hiking, Crawling, and stomach wriggling through over a mile of Twisty turney incredibly Crazy Cave, Over 3 hours of pitch black silence. Dropped down holes.. Climbed up 2ftx10inch tunnels which Angled and descended.. Stomach Crawled on Sharp Bolbous Lava Chunks With Lava Drip spikes less than a foot above.. .
Pushed myself through some parts which required "Sucking it in"...
Came back a confusing and different route, worried it would dead end... Wow. Was super cool, We both have Bruised and Red Elbows and shins... We found a guy in the caves who was lost and retreating :) We helped get him pointed in proper direction. Some Pictures showing some of the tight spots should be forthcoming soon.

UPDATE: Here are some photos taken inside the catacombs.

Formations on the wall. Very smooth feeling. We kept joking that it looks like melted chocolate.

This was basically on the ceiling. It's a spot where it fell off and into the lava, so it's all rough instead of being smooth like other parts.

Me crawling through one of the worst parts of the catacombs. This brought us back to where we had left our backpack before crawling through another skinny, angled part to get to the section we took back.

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Spelunking and Random Pics 
We had so much fun today! We explored a number of caves. We bought a small book that talks about each cave and has a map of each. That definitely came in handy on one of the caves. We both got pretty worn out faster than expected what with the crouching and sometimes even crawling. The visitor center let us borrow knee pads which were a huge help in the 'harder' caves. The caves are so neat! The walls, floor and ceiling show tons of evidence of the lava flow. Tomorrow we hope to finish the caves on the cave loop, then we'll start adventuring away from the loop. :)
Here are some random pics. I finally got the photos off of the smaller HP camera. For some reason the panoramic didn't show up. . . So that's sad. Oh well.


Me on the fire watch tower over Crater Lake. Our RV is parked down on the road below in the photo.

The ceiling/upper wall on part of one cave. They said this happened when the heat from the lava remelted some of the surrounding hardened rock.

Me sitting in a super neat area of the Juniper Cave. The white is mineral deposits. There were a lot of lower ceilings in this cave. Hence the knee pads being on. Also, we wore our bike helmets in all of the caves.

The same area of the cave, but the part we were heading towards. Give you an idea of what we saw. :) Click the photo to see a larger photo.

Just had to get a photo of Lucy in here with her new collar on. :) She got up and meowed at me right after I clicked this pic. Probably wondering what I was doing.

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Camping at Lavabeds! 
Wow. Well, after a slow start this morning, We entered The Lava Beds National Monument through the Tule Lake Wildlife Refuge. So Miranda got a chance to see a ton of birdies.. A PrarieHawk flew along side our driver window at about 25 feet away for a bit, that was intense ;)
From there we hiked the Captain Jack Stronghold trail. Pretty interesting location where 60 native men,women and children held off 600 American Troops in the late 1800's By using the terrain and caves in the area.
After finding a campsite, We had dinner, and then Went out in the dark for a walk to the nearest caves quick. We went down the Fully-Lit easiest cave first, it was awesome.. I want to go back to take video :) We'll see.
After that we went down the Labyrinth Cave. Wow. super cool. Felt like 3-4 city blocks worth of walking, croutching under some parts, scrambling over another smooth part. So crazy in there with the lava flows still in tact in some places.. Wow. Tomorrow we plan on hitting all of the easy and most medium caves in the Main part of park :)

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