On the way up, we past several climbers on their conquered boulders. Sitting on top of their ruling rocks, the view had to be awesome. I felt like I had to stop every other minute to catch my breath, take a few pictures and tell myself “you’re almost there”. Who was I kidding? I merely saw the top of the first ridge and what I didn’t see was the ridge beyond the ridge I was climbing. In the end we, or I should say I made it and was once again rewarded with the most stunning views. No pain, no gain, it’s that simple and if you want to see a place like this, you just have to put in the work, there is no way around it. Few places like this exist that you can drive up to to be astonished like this. Even the feel becomes different, almost too easy and you have to be physically broken down to an extend to take in the lesson and the appreciation that is being offered.
Once we got to the top of the ridge we found more snow, deep in some places and minimal in others. We avoided the snow as much as we could, simply for the reason of not getting our footwear soaked which consisted in part of my trusty Columbia running shoes. A staple I had come to trust over the year, lightweight and with great traction to keep the slipping and sliding to a bare minimum. Standing on top of the cliff, the ridge of the Buttermilk boulders I just had climbed, the Sierra was laid out straight across from me. A solid snowfield below was hinting of the traces from a glacier that once upon a time was spreading out between us and the foot of the mountains. The view was something to behold on to and it was another one of those moments that I will never forget. Once again I welcomed the feeling of deep gratitude while standing there in silence, letting the accomplishment/reward sweep over me, while closing my eyes. I did it, I made it, gosh this is amazing were all thoughts that crossed my mind as peace rushed through my veins. A “still” that perhaps not everybody can relate to but those who do and have felt it first hand for themselves, would know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s something hard to put into words, an emotion, a sense of heightened awareness that can’t be described but must be felt. It’s a place we get our strength from, a place of recovery and rebirth. Something that is essential for me, something that helps me keep my sanity in circumstances that feel everything else but sane at times.
We stayed for quite a while (as we always did on all of our trips and outings, with it always turning into an all day adventure) and shared a picnic consisting of avocados crushed with canned chicken breast to make the filling for our tortilla wraps. A delicious and healthier treat I discovered awhile back and that quickly had become a favorite.
We found a natural rock tub filled with water that offered an amazing view of the granite giants. I visualized myself sitting in it, staying until my skin would turn all prune looking, but for now this experience would have to be postponed. It was definitely too cold with the snow and the water had to be freezing, but in the summer heat, just in time before the water would get stale or might evaporate all together, this would be an awesome spot to cool off. I found a cropped out Boulder that seemed to cup my body in all the right places and it gave me the feel of lying in a recliner. A natural rock recliner from the Flintstone ages perhaps as I relaxed back into it and dreamed of dinosaurs roaming this place a long time ago. Turning my head, my imagination projected a Native American woman on a nearby Boulder milling grains in one of the round mill pits naturally carved into the rock. I wonder who else had walked this ground hundreds of years ago and in who’s footsteps I was following. I sensed something spiritual, a feeling of comfort from an era long past, a time simplified and less complex. I immediately knew what it was and recognized the energy that I had first felt while vacationing in Mount Shasta, Oregon. The subject deserves a post all on it’s on as it was a life changing event for me. But here and now, once more, I could feel the energy flooding through me and restoring peace. I didn’t resist one bit or questioned it, but allowed it to carry me away to simpler times of less worry. I can’t explain how it happens, other then I become completely still and at peace with everything around me and the only thing I can say is that nature does heal indeed.
We left a little earlier to head back to the cabin that day. It was Valentine’s Day and a special meal was on our mind, a meal we had been fevering towards since the day that we had gotten here. Maybe I should say that it was me who was fevering towards that special meal. I was the one exited about it from the moment I bought it and it was me who brought it up on several occasions since. We ate amazingly well the prior evenings and could have easily ate the leftovers from the lasagne and pizza, but tonight was something to be remembered. The cabin had a grill on the front porch and tonight’s menu was a nice piece of trip-tip steak. Seeing it out of the packaging, dominating the entire plate it looked like a giant slab of meat, as if we just returned from a hunting trip, foraging for protein. I wish I had taken a picture of it in hindsight. The side dishes included a big baked potato, a worthy fit to compliment the steak. I decided to make a gravy to top it all of but didn’t have much to choose from as our groceries and ingredients were limited. In the end the gravy was a mixture of sautéed onions and mushrooms with a cream cheese sauce, diluted with milk that had to stand in for the sour cream I would have used if I had it, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. I think we overate that night and fell to bed with full bellies and beyond satisfied of being fed. We had leftovers to make a total of four steak bagels for the next day but in all actuality it would be the pizza leftovers we would bring on tomorrows outing. Life was good, simple and yet it left us feeling richer in many different ways. Ask anybody out on the trail and you will find a nod and a smile of understanding, a feeling and a common connection we share throughout the magic of the trail.