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As I child, I often spent the fourth of July with my father and his extended family in Saxon’s River Vermont. This year, I once again had the opportunity to spend Indepence day with him, but without the red-white-and-blue banners and firehose waterpolo on mainstreet. We left early Friday, the 4th and drove the North route through Stanislaus National forrest across the Sierras before turning South and driving through Bishop and the strip of plains that separates SEKI and Death Valley. Another 20min drive up a twisty mountain road brought us to a small notch in the Eastmost ridge of the Sierra Nevada.

There, we found Onion Valley, a small 25-site campground at a trailhead into the SEKI backcountry. From the campground, one can see three waterfalls, two of which were but a trickle due to severe drought. Every campsite was isolated from the other by bushes and had a view of the rocky faces and boulder-strewn slopes of the Sierra Nevada range. We set-up tents and went to bed.

Saturday, we had granola with real milk and rasberries for breakfast. Next, we went for a short hike (my knee injury was very fresh and thus walking more than 0.25miles proved very painful). My father hiked a little farther towards Robinson Lake to see what was up ahead. In the afternoon, I read while he went on a longer hike up to the top of one of the waterfalls. That evening, we made chicken fahitas over a campstove which he was kind enough to leave behind after returning to the East Coast. We also had a guest, an ultra-light backpacker who used to be a Navy helicopter gunner and was now figuring out the civilian life. We attempted to make a campfire from some of the wettest wood I have ever worked with. My dad kept tryign to burn large logs that may or may not have fit in the fire ring. While amusing, let’s just say there were a few unburned embers in the ring the next morning. The camp host’s gas torch really helped us make the best of his early work. Overall, I strongly recommend campsite 22.

Sunday we made an effort to get on the road realatively early. Coming into the weekend we were both pretty stressed, so it was nice to spend time with one another. We took the North route back again, which is relatively spectacular even the second time. In Bishop, we stopped at a bakery and bought fresh bread for the week.