It was a nice surprise to see my little backpacking post chart to my most liked entry since I started this blog. After I noticed the feedback climbing, I had to analyze the reasons as to why and what was different that spoke to you. I think many of you share my passion for Mother Nature and my love for the mountains. And while I love to sit at the ocean or near any water to hear the calming sounds of the waves or a trickling nearby, I have to say that I’m a mountain girl. There is just something so majestic about those granite giants that take my breath away in awe and John Muir’s quote “The mountains are calling, I must go” rings true for me.
Perhaps some of you have lived vicariously through the pictures that went into that post and you felt close as if you were there by the way the adventure was described. Maybe there is a need for more of that in the world. More of the human touch which seems to slowly faint away, more of sharing experiences and being there for each other while being genuine and real.
Well, that’s a deep subject and an entire different post, but in either way I have decided to detail my little adventure for you and share some more insight. I hope you enjoy it.
Day 1 actually started out with waking up later as I first intended to and finally, almost an hour later I crawled out of bed. Sure enough I was exited about going, which on the other hand should have gotten me up hours earlier, but I didn’t cared for the rush anymore. Life was speeding up at an alarming rate and with it I grew tired and adapted somewhat of a “It can wait, I get there when I get there” attitude. I found myself slowing things down whenever I could, to ease into my day whenever I was off, to stop and smell the flowers so to say.
Driving into town the skyline of Reno was dotted with hot air balloons, still and floating effortlessly in the morning calm. Already it was the weekend for the annual balloon races, one of my favorite events in town. I would miss them this year, but I couldn’t help but smile at some of the memories from prior years past.
One quick stop and we were on our way, a couple of kids, carefree and grateful for the time off. Happy, while looking forward towards the great adventure we were about to embark on. You could say we worked for our adventures and to get away as often as possible. Our route took us south on a 4 hour trip alongside the Sierra mountains of which peaks got only more impressive the further we drove. Rising from the ground to tickle the clouds, I always loved this drive that never seemed to get old.
Arriving in Bishop CA, no trip could ever be complete without stopping at Schat’s Bakery and it had become somewhat of a tradition. But behold yourself as it is highly addictive and you won’t leave without spending at least $30 on Egg Croissant sandwiches, Sheepherders bread and European style donuts. But always worth it and always the best.
We ate our sandwiches at the trailhead to gain energy for the 1500 ft climb that started at an elevation of 9200 ft and would end at 10700 ft. I had done the trail before and knew what to expect but nothing prepared me for what would follow. As always, I struggled with the change in altitude compared to Reno which is only at 5016 ft and hiking in higher elevations takes conditioning and getting aquatinted to. Still nothing new to me and on I went with short fast breaths, huffing and puffing, trying to get air into my lungs, I was unable to take a deep breath. It became obvious that eating before strenuous activity was not a friend either and I started to feel sick and nauseous but still I managed. The killer was my backpack which seemed to weigh 60 pounds. Seriously, it only weight about 40 pounds….only ha….but still. Hiking with that much additional weight definitely gives it a totally different experience. I adjusted the weight to ride on my hips vs. the straps killing my back and it was my calves that had to do most of the work. In addition there was the heat, the exposed sunny side of the mountain that seemed to have never ending switchbacks. My favorite and I don’t really mean that even though they should be my friend as they grade the trail and make it a bit more manageable. Maybe it’s just the thought of knowing that switchbacks are there because it will go up up and away that feels intimidating. It is as if you are hiking in the same spot over and over and the views hardly change, offering the same scenery with the difference of gaining some elevation. I had to stop a few times and at one point I was seriously beginning to doubt my ability to make it up to the lake. I thought I was going to compromise the entire adventure which wasn’t sitting easily with me. Luckily I don’t give up easily and I have learned to fight for everything worthwhile. Often things don’t come easy in life and the most beautiful views or rewards await us after the biggest struggles. Kind of like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and even a rainbow can’t exist without a storm.
I yawned and yawned, perhaps for air, perhaps to keep from getting more sick and it was actually the best thing I could do. The air from yawning helped me get acclimated to the elevation change. Plus I got a little help with my pack for a couple hundred feet during the hottest part of the trail which helped me regain some strength. Now without the weight on my back pushing me to the ground, I felt as if I was going to float away and even felt somewhat clumsy stumbling across the trail. I was a mess for the high standards I often place on myself.
And then there it was, after passing Marmots sitting on the rock enjoying the afternoon sun, we climbed the final ridge. Coming around the corner, the final step of the ascend and the lake, our home for the next two nights lying at our feet and glistening in the sun. A deep sigh of victory, achievement, having made it and being happy about this familiar view of serenity was followed by the victory shot of this picture.
With only a few hours of daylight left, we found a beautiful level spot in front of this majestic white granite cliff, close enough to hear the water trickle for that peaceful sound and how lucky could you be to have two trees right there to set up the hammock. By the way there was no other spot like that which would accommodate everything anywhere else around the lake. It was like it was meant to be, exactly the way it was, as if the heavens rewarded us for all the hard work of getting to that spot. Camp was made and dinner consisting of a powder chicken noodle soup (easier and lighter to carry vs. cans) was cooking. A modest meal but it was everything that was needed and dining in a five star restaurant could have not beat the scenery and the ambience of the Alpenglow covering the mountains with a pink warm blanket. As the sun gave way to the moon coming over the ridge, the magic was complete and I find myself drawn to it as if a magical world lies beyond the glowing ball of light that illuminates the night sky. I am a moon child for sure but I also like a black night that makes the stars shine bright and show us the Milky Way of a far far away fairyland.
And with that thought and gazing into the night sky, the last light vanished for the day. I snuggled into my sleeping bag, to a night under the stars….