Jen and I arrived in California on the California coast to find the hills and valleys lush and verdant and the air thick with the fragrances of flowers and birdsong. Butterflies dart around spring blooms and hillsides are generously cloaked in wildflowers (I suppose I should also mention that the freeways are clogged with cars and yellow-brown smog looms over the valleys). It was a great delight to finally see signs of life again. We stayed at the Trogon’s condo in Ventura County for almost a week. During our stay we saw Gray Whales migrating down the coast, we took a trip to Channel islands National Park and spent some time in the coastal mountains. We also got to visit my cousin Michelle and her family. Since then we headed to the sierras. We spent yesterday admiring giant Sequoia’s at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.The whole area is covered with a few feet of snow, but we are warm and cozy here at the John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon NP. Its neat and inspiring be in place named after my personal hero, with quotes and pictures of Muir and giant trees all around. Its always good to remember that without dedicated conservations, few beautiful places would exist. We should all be grateful for the battles they fought and won. This $200 per night place is only $70 in the winter! We’ll head to Yosemite later today. Pics to come later. I hope Jen enjoys her valentine’s fruit basket I put out. Shes still sleeping.