Monday, June 25, 2012

Up to the Mountain Top

Last week when we were in the High Sierra, a group of us piled in two cars, drove a short distance to a lake, and paid our money to take a ferry across the water.

Nothing fancy, the ferry looked like an open tin can.

We buzzed across the lake to the other side....

 Through a very narrow notch of water affectionately known as the "Jungle Boat Cruise"...

...and out once again on the far side, where we began our hike up to a nearby mountain top.

Part of our hike took us along a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Seeing this little sign (below) made me think of  "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," the account by Cheryl Strayed of her experience hiking solo for three months along this epic trail. She didn't actually hike past this marker, but still. It was cool, thinking about her and what she accomplished at the age of 26. (I recommend the book.)

The trail was easy to find because there wasn't much snow obscuring it. Where the path was unclear, cairns helped guide the way:

We were heading for this peak:

It can be daunting, thinking about hiking for four or more miles, mostly up, from 7,500 feet to 9,200 feet. The air is thin, and it can take three or more hours to make the climb.

But along the way, there are lovely things to look at, like Mountain Phlox:

And Pussy Toes:

Step after step, breathing hard and stopping occasionally to take a swig of water from the canteen, you pick your head up, to be rewarded with sights like this:

and this:

and this:

About when you think you are never going to make it, suddenly, you are there! You open up your day pack, dig out a sandwich or bag of granola, and rest your feet while delighting in your accomplishment and the gorgeous view:

Other hikers might be sharing the peak with you, one rock over:

I am always amazed that, no matter how high I hike, there are butterflies flitting about:

On the way down, we encountered several friendly dogs who were backpacking along with their families. This guy seemed genuinely happy to be there:

I took this shot as he and his boy passed by. Look how much that young man is carrying!:

Down again at last to the lake's edge where the ferry would pick us up, we met two yellow Labs about to begin their hike up the mountain. This cutie-pie is Kaiyu, rescued from the pound in Downey, California, just a month ago:

He was wearing booties for the first time in his life. It was comical, watching him walk with exaggerated care. He picked his paws up reeeeeeally high, trying to get used to his new footgear. Meanwhile, his big sister, Naia, was an old pro at booties, and she even knew how to carry a backpack:

We said goodbye to the other hikers and dogs, took the ferry back to where our cars waited, and left the lake in the care of its year-round denizens:

A flock of Canada Geese, who have decided that life is sweet on this lake and there's no need to migrate, ever again.

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous!! It relaxed me just to share in your beautiful photos -- can only imagine all the good endorphins YOU experienced (are experiencing). :-)



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