Everyone likes to share the highlights of their trips and brag about the amazing times they had while abroad/traveling/etc. However, we often suffer from "Travel Amnesia", whereby we're only able to conjure up happy memories from our adventures and our mind omits the not so fun parts such as the 8 hour layover, trash everywhere, shitty hotels, obnoxious people, car breakdowns, and paying the tourist price.
Thankfully, I didn't have to go through any of that on my latest trip. It was a beautiful day, the park was easy to find, cheap entrance fee, and almost nobody else there. You can't have it all though. As I basked in my fortune of being in such a beautiful place, I quickly realized that I WASN'T alone. Quite the opposite, I was surrounded! Flies came from all sides in all areas and began their relentless assault of my personal bubble. If I stopped moving for a second, to tie my shoe, to drink some water, or snap a pic, BOOM, they were on me.
My only recourse was to move swiftly and every so often wave my arms like a mad man hopelessly attempting to fly. Despite the unwelcome hiking partners, I was still able to see some beautiful sights and get some good exercise up to the base of Three Fingered Jack.
A large part of the meadows were burned in fire back in 2003, but the forest is marching back.
This was about the 18th time during the hike that I just stopped in my tracks and said, "Holy Cow, man!" and then was abruptly reminded that I was being followed.