The Story Behind This Photograph:

Taken On the Darwin Bench, Kings Canyon National Park, California, on June 27th, 2020.

The plan was to hike the full 51-mile North Lake to South Lake loop in four days. But after two days and 27 miles my friend, Ryan, and I were feeling completely knackered. Pushing on to complete the original plan was doable, but it would have meant long, exhausting days on the trail which left little time for photography or simply enjoying the wilderness. Instead we spontaneously decided to switch things up and take a shortcut back to the car, heading through Darwin Bench to Lamarck Col. This would shave 20+ miles off our total trip and give us plenty of quality time with Mother Nature.

After sleeping in a bit on day three of the trip we set off for the short (but steep) climb to Darwin Bench, where we set up camp for the night. Then we set off in search of stunning scenes, which were in no short supply. The Darwin Bench is a spectacular place which provides marvelous views in all directions. I was particularly drawn to the view to the south, which looked out over Evolution Valley and a prominent triangular peak known as The Hermit. Once sunset itself arrived, color and light exploded in the sky, and swept across the mountains. I loved how the shapes of the clouds mirrored those of the rocks in the stream, and how the warm tones of sunset played beautifully off the cool tones in the shadows. 

Our spontaneous decision to leave our initial planned turned out to be the right one.

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