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Hume Lake and Sequoia National Park

I went on this trip in September 2020 and it's finally time to post it a year later. This blog post is a special one for me because it is one of my all time favorite places, but it is even more special now because I never would have imagined this would be my last adventure with my friend, Shannon, before she unexpectedly passed away. Hume Lake is where we became friends and it is also where we had our last trip together. For both of us, it was one of our all time favorite places. I am forever grateful for this trip and so thankful we were able to make it happen. Shannon inspired me to adventure, make my dreams a reality, and live life to the fullest. This blog post is dedicated to my friend and adventure buddy, Shannon Benstead!

When I met Shannon at Hume in 2013

We all have a place that takes us back to our happy place. For me, that place is Hume Lake. It is a place that impacted my life in so many ways. Hume Lake is a Christian camp located in the Sequoia National Forest near King's Canyon. I went to summer and winter camp a couple times in high school, I went one summer for the week as a counselor with my church, and spent 2 summers on staff. Hume was a place where my faith and relationship with Jesus deepened. It was a place where I left all the distractions of home and it allowed me to take a step back and reflect. It was a place where I could let loose and be my ridiculous, goofy self. It’s a place full of laughter and fun. It is a place where I could bring my competitive spirit in recreation and games. It is a place that creates opportunities for deep and raw conversations.

It is a place where community thrives!

There is no cell service, so people actually have to get to know each other face to face and it is so incredible. One of my favorite things is looking around at campers, staff, and guests as they find fun ways to engage and spend their free time without sitting and staring at their phones. It is a place that is never short on adventures, nature, and activities. It is a place that will always hold a special place in my heart! The lessons I learned, the experiences and memories made, will forever be with me!

I have always loved camp, but there was something special about Hume Lake. Hume Lake is a camp that goes above and beyond to make an impactful camp experience. Hume runs Christian camps and retreats year round, but is open to the public to rent out cabins, has a campground, general store, gift shop, snack shop, boats, kayak, jeep tours, paddle board rentals and more! There are plenty of opportunities for all at Hume Lake!

From the middle of the lake...unfortunately, all our views were smoky


My weekend began when I flew into San Diego to meet Shannon and finally visit her at her stomping grounds. While Shannon finished work, I headed to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. She suggested The Taco Stand for lunch and Better Buzz Coffee for an afternoon caffeine pick me up. Both were amazing and I highly recommend them! They are walking distance from the beach. There are many other food options on the strip. I recommend you do what I did and park by the beach, walk to get food and then take it back and for a picnic on the beach!


The next day, we packed up, gathered our group and began the 6 hour road trip to Hume Lake! The crew was Shannon, her boyfriend, Ethan, his brother Garron and his wife Morgan! We stopped at Ethan and Garron’s favorite, Firestone, in Bakersfield, CA. If in the vicinity of Bakersfield, this is a must stop for Ethan and Garron. And I see why - it is some pretty tasty BBQ! Definitely worth the stop! We stopped again on the way back home. I got the famous tri tip sandwich the first time, then tried the grilled chicken sandwich the next time. Both were amazing and I recommend either of them!

On our way up the mountain, we stopped at the famous, General Grant Tree. I have heard about this tree, but never got around to going when I worked up there, so it was fun to take the short hike and finally see it! By the time we arrived at Hume, it was dark, so we found our cabin and got settled before calling it a night.

Bad quality pic, but worth posting because its with a high quality friend <3


Location: Kings Canyon National Park (National Park fees required)

Length: 4.9 miles

Route: Out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

About: The next day, after a relaxing morning and breakfast on our cabin patio, we decided it was the perfect day to explore and go for a hike. We headed to Park Ridge Trail Panoramic Point to Park Ridge Fire Lookout. It was about a 5 mile hike with a view of Hume! Unfortunately, there were a lot of fires in California and although they were far from Hume, the views were smoky.

I spy Hume Lake! Do you?

We spent the rest of the day, hanging out by the lake relaxing and playing spikeball. And after that hike, we earned our milkshakes. You cannot go to Hume without getting at least one milkshake (extra thick). There is something about Hume milkshakes that are better than any other milkshakes. I worked in the snack shop my first summer, and I'll tell you the secret as long as you don't tell! ;) The secret is a little milk, lots of ice cream and Jesus! After watching the sun set over the lake, we ended the night, enjoying one of the many bonfire pits they have around camp.

I have still not been able to find a better milkshake
Meadow old stomping grounds <3
Kayak or canoe anyone?

This view never gets old!


The next day was dedicated to spending the day at Hume! We started bright and early with watching the sunrise from the dock. We took Hume’s jeep tour and it was so much fun. One of my favorite memories working at camp was a wild adventure off roading on the suzukis. Of course, as summer staffers, we went with full time staff and created our own path and it was insane and epic! This trip was more tame, but still filled with lots of fun and dirt and great views! The dustier, the better, in my opinion!

Sunrise at Hume

After showering off all the dust, we walked around camp and shot some 22s. I have never shot a gun, so that was a fun experience! And I even hit some targets! ;)

Then we headed back to the lake for some paddle boarding. We couldn’t spend a day at Hume without walking the 3 mile loop around the lake. In 2015, there was a fire that made its way to the dam at Hume. The rough fire caused all staff to be evacuated from Hume and went all the way to the dam, then suddenly diverted, sparing Hume Lake. It was so insane seeing all the dead trees and seeing first hand how close the fire got to Hume. God really had his hand over Hume and spared it from being consumed by that fire. After the walk around the lake, we had worked for our daily milkshake and meal at the snacky! ;)

The next morning was our last morning and our plan was to take one last walk around the lake before embarking on our road trip home. Unfortunately, a new fire sparked near Hume and the smoke was strong and there were ashes on our porch that morning. We decided walking around the lake was not the smartest decision. I couldn’t leave Hume without watching the sunrise and having journal time one last time. The trip was short and sweet and I cannot wait until the next time I can go back to Hume!

Most people say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth...and although it definitely is magical and one of the happiest places on earth, I say Hume takes the award for happiest place on earth! If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend making the trip! There is so much to do at Hume Lake and the surrounding areas in the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park!

Hop on the “kara-van” and let’s take the adventurous route!

~Kara Renee’

In memory of Shannon Benstead <3

1 Comment

j b
j b
May 09, 2023

Thank you sweet Kara! Love the details and the pics!


Hey friend! Thanks for stopping by!

I'm Kara! I'm just a directionally challenged girl, who loves adventure! What most people call getting lost, I call taking the adventurous route! So jump on the "kara-van" and let's take the adventerous route!

Let's get lost together!​​



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