01titleWe had planned a trek in Sequoia National Park but switched to the National Forest when we changed dates of travel. The NF is less restrictive.There are dozens of Sequoia groves in California and only a handful in the National Park. The others often provide a more intimate experience.We backpacked into the wilderness area, also used by horse packers. The 100 degree heat was a real hindrance.As we headed for an early exit, we saw evidence of nearby forest fires.We took advantage of the sea breezes of Santa Barbara. Of all the California missions, Santa Barbara's is the only one remaining under the leadership of the Franciscan Friars since its founding.We were surprised to find that Santa Barbara still is an active fishing port. This is a fresh load of sea urchins.The largest fig tree in the United States, near Santa Barbara's Amtrak station. We saw similar trees in Costa Rica.Walking the shoreline path in Santa Barbara was a great way to end the day.Our quarters in Pasadena was a cottage behind a mansion with a pool. Great!Huntington Library and Gardens, Pasadena.A remaining vestige of old Pasadena, an apartment building slowly being restored.The intense California sun played havoc with my camera. This is the magificent arts-and-crafts Gamble house, of "Proctor and Gamble."A few days later, we arrived at Grand Central Terminal, New York.It was good to see old friends in midtown.The flatiron building was completed way back in 1902. The architect was a famous Chicagoan, Daniel Burnham.Our hotel was a fortunate, last-minute choice and featured a rooftop lounge.First stop: our favorite musem, the beautifully designed Rubin Museum of Art, devoted to the arts of the Himalayan region.Not all deities are peaceful.Alexander Hamilton's estate, the Grange, which now finds itself on 141st Street in Harlem.Much of the furnishing is original and it is amazing to imagine AH inventing our financial system on it.We hiked from 141st to 28th street and stopped in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. It is the fourth largest Christian church in the world but remains only 2/3 completed.23We continued our hike down to Union Square and saw hard core chess matches, New York style.There was a green market in the square, where Broadway is interrupted."Whoa - do I want to get on this subway car?"