Posted in Backpacking, Hiking

Mokelumne Wilderness – The ascend 

Tuesday: Day 1
Due to the “first come, first serve” permit service and only three designated backpacking camp sites, we knew that we had to plan for an early start to our day. The trail head was located 2 hours south with the office opening at 9AM. For me it was getting up at 5AM since I live on the outskirts and about 30 minutes away from Reno. It allowed plenty of time for everything without having to rush and I prefer it this way these days. By 7:30AM we were leaving town and traffic was unusually busy for a Tuesday. It seems like the population of the city keeps rising and so is it’s traffic congestion. The drive was fairly smooth and luckily we missed a coyote that ran across the road in front of us. What we did hit though, was some construction work and the dreaded flagger, but just as predicted, to the minute, we pulled up in front of the office at 9AM on the nose. The door to the gift shop / permit office was wide open already and the trail parking lot was already bustling with action. “Oh no” I thought, I hope we are not too late. I scanned the area but only saw day hikers and no other backpackers, which was good sign. Luckily we were the first to ask for a permit and therefore we were able to pick our favorite site out of the three. We got everything squared away and got the permit for two nights even though we would only stay one. This way would allow us to leave the tent up all day and have shelter in case it would rain. There was a chance of thunderstorms for both days, plus we could take our time packing up since we planned on staying until late afternoon. We always do and I wouldn’t imagine this time to be any different. 

By the time the sleeping bag and my sleeping pad was attached, the pack didn’t feel unreasonably heavy, but it was enough. Especially with the arthritis. I centered and situated most weight onto my hips to put less stress onto my shoulders and legs. Off we went with our backpacks, tripod case, camera case and another little lunch bag (that everybody would comment and loved due the picture imprinted of a bulldog wearing glasses…who doesn’t love dogs, right?) with today’s snacks in tow. “Are we there yet” did cross my mind before I even got started. I love hiking but in most occasions I have to work harder with my joints to get to where I want to and strenuous is always a bit of a butt kicker. And this particular trail is always a bit of the same for me, especially doing it the first time of the year. The trailhead is at 8500 feet which is 4000 feet higher compared to where I live. It climbs 600 feet in a little bit over 2 miles. Nothing too crazy, but even walking on the moderate stretches makes me sweat when you are not used to the elevation. I have to find my pace and regulate my breathing as not to gasp for air trying to get more air into my lungs. Ok I’m slightly exaggerating, but you will definitely feel the struggle and it takes time to acclimate to higher elevations. And then carry a pack of 35-40 lbs. (at least) on top of it, is no joke my friend. 

I found my pace, (I always do) but I’m not gonna lie and say I could have easily walked on forever. I was ready to get there, to pitch the tent and put the labor aside to enjoy the day. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the journey, I was just tired from working and I was ready to rest and be lazy. The trail passed little run off water crossings here and there and snaked its way through wooded areas and along mountain ridges. The hillside was in bloom, just as suspected and dotted with a variety of wildflowers offering a rich palette. A series of meadows was ahead of us and the first one was especially rich and thick with wildflowers. A little creek ran through it, supplying plenty of moisture to the lush growth. The trail would narrow through the thick and tall plants as if you had to cross through a jungle. One more turn and it would lie directly in front of us as our excitement was building. We came around the bend and what I noticed first was all the people amidst the “jungle” and then I noticed how thick and grown in it was. I had never seen it so rich and so tall in all the years coming here. It was quite a sight to behold and I couldn’t blame anyone for stopping and pausing to take it all in. After our share of it and taking a few pictures to memorize the moment, we pushed on to the next meadow, one of my favorites. The trail finally levels out and you are minutes from the ridge with Winnemucca Lake lying at your feet in a granite bowl. The meadow is grassy and full of boulders and wildflowers. It’s simply stunning and I’m not sure if pictures can bring it justice. I hope I did bring you an idea of what this area looks like until you might see it with your own eyes. We took a few more pictures before summiting the final steps that gave away the view of Winnemucca Lake and for the first time since the start of the trail, I was able to take the deepest of breaths, followed by the deepest of sighs and the deepest appreciation of being amongst this beauty and spend the night under the moonlight. 

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Author:

I'm a dreamer and hopeless romantic who believes that there is always a silver lining to everything. Now, inspired by the simple life, I have learned that less is more and that we find magic all around us if we take the time to notice. Life is a journey and a process that is ever changing. We are constantly evolving in the matter of who we are as we align our stars and shed a past no longer in line with our highest self. I don't easily fit conventional norms, not because I'm a rebel, but because of resenting the pull that threatens to take me away from my true beliefs and my unique personal identity. I support the power of "Choice" and the ability for us to be the architects of our own lives. Some of these choices should have something a little wild about them as they form the moments that forever stay edged in our memory and make our hearts beat with wonder. Nobody will remember the ordinary. For myself, I'm a warrior who has fallen many times, who has gone through trails an tribulations and who is no stranger to adversity. After all, my choice remains clear, to get back up and stand stronger than ever. To recognize that it often takes our darkest moments to mold us into who we were meant to be. I have learned to trust the process and stay positive through the challenges. I trust it to be the only way to prevent my heart from hardening and allowing bitterness to creep in. I believe in the power of "NOW" as it is the only moment we truly ever have. The past is gone, unchangeable and the future hasn't happened yet. All we can impact is the current moment. Everything starts with a choice and hopefully with one that has something wild about it and may even scare you to death to execute. DO IT...I promise you won't regret it. This blog is my voice to share my Journey. If I could describe this adventure in short, I would call it "Spiritual awakening" with a yearning for "Freedom" and going after the things that truly matter. To seek a less complicated life that is stripped down from the many obligations and responsibilities that often tie us down. For me it is a life free of rules and regulations, one that allows me to escape the must expectations while jumping off the hamster wheel that is spinning faster all the time. To be on my own time and live each day to the fullest, to make it all slow down by banishing routine and unleashing my creativity/artistic values in an effort to entertain whatever subject comes to mind. And if lucky, to perhaps offer a different view to my readers, one that speaks to your soul vs. the demands of what society might expect. It is one that empowers you to be your unique self and follow the beat of your own drum. I am dreaming big as I trail blaze the path to a new life and becoming a storyteller. I find my inspiration in the little things in life, in Mother Nature and on the trail that provides the adventures and the backdrop for a book someday. My hope is to inspire "Courage" in others who might find themselves on the brink of taking that first step. This blog serves as a foundation for my collection of personal thoughts, opinions and experiences and by no means am I an expert on any topics mentioned. To my readers I would say that the universe connects us by a common thread, we all search and we all have something to say. We don't always have to meet in person to share a strong bond and people enter our path for a reason. Some stay for a short time and serve their purpose, while others teach us a lesson and help us become stronger through experience. And a few special ones remain as the treasures we hold dear over a lifetime and touch our hearts beyond means. In whatever way we are meant to be, I thank you for crossing my path and for stopping by. I hope that I have left you inspired, full of wonder and with a few "Wild Choices" to make....Hugs XO

16 thoughts on “Mokelumne Wilderness – The ascend 

    1. Awe thank you so much. Hiking and the serenity of nature is a great balance to my hectic retail life. It helps me balance life while combining my passion for photography. I’m glad you enjoyed the read and future installments are to follow to detail the entire trip.
      Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

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