Backpacking in Kings Canyon with the Adventure Club

Hi everyone! My name is Doug, and this is my first time posting on the blog! I’m a rising junior at Mudd who’s passionate about engineering and material science. Before coming to Mudd, I grew up in various towns in Connecticut which is quite the distance from here. Through my blog posts, I want to share my experiences in a state on what seems like the other side of the world for me and in a school that is like no other.

Photo of Doug smiling in front of a large bush with pink flowers

Currently, I am one of the co-presidents of the Adventure Club at Harvey Mudd. The Adventure Club is a student run club whose purpose is to “organize enthusiastic. individuals into a cohesive mass of excellence to engage in a wide variety of productive, recreational, and ridiculous activities of grand import.” With this rather ambiguous description, the Adventure Club hosts numerous outdoorsy adventures that do get a lot of attention. Over the course of this year, the Adventure Club at Harvey Mudd has done a variety of trips including moonlight hiking in nearby Icehouse Canyon, camping in Death Valley, and even doing some beach getaways. I wanted to highlight one of my favorite trips with the Adventure Club, our backpacking journey in Kings Canyon National Park.

Only a six-hour drive from campus, Kings Canyon National Park provides a beautiful, picturesque wilderness like no other. Sequoiadendron giganteums, or giant sequoias, fill the groves on the canyon slopes, scraping the sky with their enormous height and providing shade with their incredible volume. Navigating to and around the park with the Adventure Club was definitely my most memorable experience at Mudd.

Giant sequoias soaring up into the sky. A few rays of sunlight break through thick coverage providing a sort of yellow to blue gradient in the background of the image.

Some of the many giant sequoias we saw on the trip.

A student carrying an orange backpack hikes through the center of a giant Sequoia

One Harvey Mudd student walked through a giant sequoia as she followed the trail down the canyon.

Our group of eight started at the top of a canyon in the southernmost part of Kings Canyon National Park and made our way down to the base of the valley over the course of one day. The views were unbelievable. In order to get down there, we had to not only weave our way around the world’s largest trees (by volume), but also walk through and over them.

The sun breaks through the coverage illuminating the various species of trees in the image. Red, orange, and green leaves stand out as the sunlight hits them. In the front of the image is a giant sequoia. In the back of the image are skinnier, younger sequoias.

Another shot of the tall trees seen during our hike.

A fallen giant sequoia provides access to the rest of the trail that would have been cut off by a river. A student with a red backpack stands in the center of the image as she crosses the sequoia. On the other side of the natural bridge are various trees of different species, none of which are as large as full grown giant sequoias.

A Mudder crossing a river by hiking over a fallen sequoia.

Never before have I seen nature like this. Although I do see my share of trees back home in Connecticut, the wilderness of the Kings Canyon is much different. On top of that, backpacking with my Mudd friends made the experience even better. Throughout the trip our conversations ranged from arguments about our physics classes to ideas about the best crossover movies. I was given the opportunity to see my friends in a new light and began to really appreciate our friendships.

Two students are seen hiking up a trail cutting through a fern covered grove. Both are carrying orange backpacks. On either side of the grove are small tress providing some shade from the sun.

Two Mudders hiking up a grove.

Two students stand on a boulder as they look off into the tree covered canyon. In the background, the mountains are outlined and show off various shades of blue and green. Above, the sky is completely clear allowing for the solar rays to penetrate all parts of the wilderness.

Two Mudders overlooking the canyon at the start of the hike.

Although I do love seeing the wart-covered buildings (warts are the brown, cement squares that embellish the columns of buildings at Mudd), every so often Mudders make the effort to explore the gorgeous environments California has to offer.