A few years ago I was whisked out of Florence Lake by the Search and Rescue Helicopter for Fresno County, Eagle One. In about a half an hour, I was dropped off along the Piute Creek trail at about 11,000’. I joined the search team near Piute Pass which is the border between Fresno and Inyo Counties. We located the missing subject in late afternoon and reunited him with his backpacking group. Because of the late hour, we camped along Piute Creek overnight and were flown back to Florence Lake the next day.
As I reflect on the experience now, it was an epiphany of sorts. It was a turning point that pulled my attention and focus away from Yosemite to the Sierra National Forest and later to Sequoia Kings Canyon (SeKi). I could not believe how beautiful and rugged the area was that I had just left. It burned an image on my mind that remains today. After spending years on the trails of Yosemite, I realized that there was a beauty and solitude in the mid Sierras that is not surpassed anywhere that I have ever been.
As a Fresno California resident for over 20 years, it had not occurred to me that the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is contained in Fresno County. The largest section of the John Muir Trail is in Fresno County. The third highest mountain in the Sierras, North Palisade is also in Fresno County and there are Bighorn Sheep in Fresno County. The McKinley Grove of Giant Sequoias is in Fresno County also. It's still a big secret.
I have written for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin for seven years as a Deacon and now a Priest. I believe there are aspects of my writing that do not apply to the diocese website and limit what I could post. It is for this reason that I have begun my own blogsite. So....God willing, this will be productive.
* note: The photographs are from my book "Seeking The Lost: Stories Of Search And Rescue" and were taken by Deputy David Rippe of the Fresno County Sheriff's SAR Team.