Where in the World is Will? California’s National Parks

Will Littlejohn, an Associate Engineer at our Knoxville office, has set out on the journey of a lifetime with two of his friends. Their plan is to backpack across the Northern Hemisphere and visit locations in 12 countries over the course of six months.

The first challenge of Will’s trip was not surviving sub-zero temperatures or fording a flooded river—it was attempting the 72 oz. steak challenge at The Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas.

Sequioa National Park (photo:  Daniel Telsey)

After officially meeting up together in California for the first leg of the journey, Will and Co. traveled to Sequoia National Park and visited landmarks like General Sherman, the world’s largest tree.  After Sequoia, it was an overnight camping trip in Paradise Valley on the way to their next destination.

Paradise Valley (photo:  Daniel Telsey)

Usually, organized parks or wilderness areas require permits for visitors to set up a campsite for a determined amount of time.  Since Will and his friends were able to obtain a two-day permit to Yosemite National Park, they were able to spend quite a bit of time exploring the sights it has to offer.

Yosemite National Park (photo:  Daniel Telsey)

First stop was Glacier Point, which is a viewpoint above Yosemite Valley.  At an elevation of more than 7,000 feet, it offers a fantastic view of Half Dome and most of the major waterfalls in the area.  Next, they traveled the steep cables to Half Dome’s summit and took a day hike to Clouds Rest, which gives spectacular 360-degree views for miles around.

Glacier Point (photo:  Daniel Telsey)Clouds Rest (photo:  Daniel Telsey)

Will and his friends plan to rely on hitchhiking for a majority of their travel plans during this adventure.  While they were in Yosemite, they were able to pay it forward by giving a ride to a couple who were looking for a way to get back down to the valley floor.

Sleeping at community campsites not only is convenient when traveling between landmarks, but also gives Will and his friends the opportunity to meet people from around the world and hear their stories.  One night, they had dinner with Swedish natives (who ended up offering them a place to stay when they make it to Stockholm) and sat around a community fire pit with a group from Iran.  They thought the group was incredible to talk to and found it interesting to learn about their culture and what they thought about living in America.

While their time in California has already created many memories, Will still has quite a bit of road ahead of him.  Next stop:  Will and friends explore more of the West Coast as they start in San Francisco and head north to Oregon.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (photo:  Daniel Telsey)