The Best Day of the Year?

The best day of the year is the day after Labor Day.

Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah of the summer. For many it is the last picnic, last camping trip, last backpack, or last hike of the year. It is often the 3-day weekend attached to a week or two of summer vacation. Unlike most, I look forward to The Day After Labor Day.

The Day After is the return to school, the return to work with seriousness, Monday night football games, the “new” TV season, and for many a return to drudgery after a short season of distraction called summer.

The three or four weeks after Labor Day still preset warm weather in the mountains, no flying insects, and slow transition to cooler nights in preparation for fall. Best of all, these few weeks after Labor Day provide empty campgrounds and deserted trails. It presents the best camping and backpacking opportunities of the year, while the multitudes go back to the humdrum of their lives.

The Day After, I began getting the camper ready for a trip to the Southern Sierra Nevada, picked a location where oak trees meet pine trees, in a location divided by a great river, a river diminished in cubic feet per minute due to the nearly complete summer melting of winter snows. A perfect time in a perfect place.

Sequoia National Forest
Sequoia National Forest

So there we were, for more than a week, enjoying fine weather (highs in mid 80s F and lows in the 50s F) and solitude in a place that had seen two and half months of over use; solitude provided by the courtesy of The Day After. Most days and nights we were the sole occupants of a  campground with 50+ sites. The week also reminded us that as the North American continent begins its annual cooling off and snowy mountain winter, we will be blessed with our most active yearly camping, hiking, and backpacking seasons; fall and winter in the mountains and deserts near home.

Parked next to a large oak tree that became our patio area -- no need to lower our trailer's awning
Parked next to a large oak tree that became our patio area — no need to lower our trailer’s awning
a 60 second walk from camper to river
a 60 second walk from camper to river
Hot spring adjacent to our river
Hot spring adjacent to our river
day walks on trails have many interesting things to see
day walks on trails have many interesting things to see
much time was spent watching squirrels gathering and eating for winter, books were read, good conversation was had, and even more time invested in doing nothing but daydreaming and thinking
much time was spent watching squirrels gathering and eating for winter, books were read, good conversation was had, and even more time invested in doing nothing but daydreaming and thinking

After more that a week of solitude and rest, we were recharged and ready to go home, and of course get ready for the next trip.

For the rest of you, enjoy the jobs you hate, unending after-school activities with your kids, pro and college football on TV, reality TV, sitcoms, and other nonsense, and all the other manifestations of civilization; we will be spending most of our leisure time in the mountains and deserts.

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