Flashback to the painted dunes with Mount Lassen looming in the background. What a beautiful place just a few hours from my home. I do live in a diverse center of an ever changing landscape.
To the north live my volcanoes and the volcanic scenic highway promises a beautiful feast for the eyes. Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta are just a few favorites with a vibe and energy that will surely stir something within. It did with me and I will never forget my initial visit. Today I think that spending time at the base of Mount Shasta in Oregon was the beginning of my spiritual journey and I have never been the same since. In a good way I hope and so much has happened since. In a sense it is my true north as far as connecting with spirit and if I had to pinpoint it on a map.
To the east of me is more desert and it’s probably the least ventured area I travel.
To the south are more of my beautiful mountains, which grow bigger and bigger the further you go, forming the Sierra Nevada’s. It’s a diverse landscape with granite peaks and limestone boulders for climbing or perhaps the backdrop to an Iron Man movie. This area includes the Alabama Hills and The Buttermilk’s, which make favorite bouldering areas.
To west lies the ocean and a warmer Californian climate that I often seek during winter escapes. There is something soothing listening to the waves and watching the mystery of the fog rolling in from the ocean.
Each landscape is so unique and special in itself, that I am truly lucky to have this diversity and the ability to see these ever changing places that are all within driving proximity. I don’t ever take them for granted.
The beautiful high Sierra near Bishop CA as seen from my recent hiking trip.
Picture from my recent road trip.
After a few hours driving south we ended in Little Lakes Valley, near Bishop, California. It’s a beautiful little slice of heaven filled with mountains and alpine lakes at high altitude. I always struggle at first, trying to adjust to the thinner air of high elevation. I just can’t get the air all the way down into my lungs, and most times a slight headache accompanies the first few hours.
The hike to Brooks Lakes was short with a grade that moderately climbed up and away. Although I still had to work at it and broke a sweat, taking in short, quick breaths while my head was pounding, I’d say it was a good trail to get accustomed with. Especially if you only have a limited amount of time like in our case since we had been driving a good part of the the day. Did I mention the days are already getting shorter and it gets darker earlier? Sigh…,
A highlight was that we had the place all to ourselves and saw a brown weasel hunt, jumping up and through a tree without any effort, right in front of us. What a great and unusual animal sighting. And check out those mountains in the background. Small looking from the distance but 13.000 + feet tall.
You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day…unless you’re busy. Then you should sit for an hour. ❤️🦋
This picture came about on the way up to one of my secret waterholes. Yes, you pass one gorgeous lake on the way to an even more gorgeous lake. If that is even possible,
It’s a short but in parts steep hike to the upper lake which will get you closer to the granite mountain peaks looming above. I remember the first time I hiked it, many years ago, younger but strangely struggling much more than I do now. I had to stop and catch my breath, pausing ever so often. One would assume that you health declines over the years when we got older, especially with the RA, but I seem to have grown stronger, and the trail doesn’t bother me anymore. You could say that I have found my stride, my pace, my rhythm in this life and I can do it without breaks or having to catch my breath now. At least that part of life. Good for me and I am grateful, especially when I think about the painful days.
The upper lake has a great flat rock at the waters edge which is perfect for napping and listening to the soothing sounds of the water. While most flock to the busy shorelines of Lake Tahoe, this is perfect for me and finding a little quiet place with nothing but solitude.
This picture was taken just yesterday, late in the day, as daylight was fading. Most weeks I hike on Mondays and Tuesday and the scenery close to my house just never get’s hold. How could it? Just look at it, it looks perfect. It’s my birthday week and Saturday I will add another year to the list. This place allows you to escape the crowds and party’s of Lake Tahoe which is also close to my house. The choice is yours and depends on what you want. Tahoe is the place if you like to party and love crowds and lots of noise. No doubt is the area beautiful around the lake, but during the summer month it gets pretty touristy. You know where you will find me. Well actually you won’t because there are far too many serene, secluded, and quiet, secret, spots with a view over here.
This week’s bonus wildlife included countless deer and stags, pronghorn antelopes, several snakes and a few marmots. I have to admit that snakes still startle me a bit since my accident where I almost stepped on one, over corrected, slipped and dislocated my elbow. So there is still a little hesitation around those sleek creatures but usually all wildlife is welcome, and their sightings always makes the trip even more special and memorable.
It is also on my hiking days that I fall behind answering your precious comments and I thank you for your patience while I catch up. You should here from me over the next few days. In the meantime I hope you enjoy this picture and have a great week.
Another picturesque, serene little place that was a first for me. Just beyond Gold Lake off the Gold Lakes Highway, nestled underneath a granite cliff, lies little Gold Lake. The lake is free of ice but still shows a few snow remnants melting into the shallow waters.
With waters so crystal clear, it was easy to spot rock boulders just beneath the surface. One might think the lake could easily be conquered, walking across without ever fully submerging your body. It might even dry up completely during a year of little snow and moisture, or in the later summer months. But for this trip it was perfect and well worth the flooded spots and wobbly water crossings in the slightly over 7 mile journey round trip.
Long Lake, June 2019
It was not planned to make it to Long Lake, and it seemed nearly impossible yet. Another two weeks perhaps and the trail should be more manageable I thought, fighting my way up past snow run off and washed out sections. We ended up making it further than expected that day and I knew the lake was just over that ridge, beyond that massive glacier of snow.
I couldn’t do it, and I couldn’t bare the thought to have come so close, within it’s reach, to only turn around and try again in two weeks. We crossed that glacier, by now completely soaking my shoes and even giving it some new attractive mud color prior to the glacier.
But then it happened, just beyond the ridge and this was the first glimpse of Long Lake. “Hello gorgeous, it’s been two years I have seen you”.
Still crossing snow glaciers to get to these places, building my endurance and strengths. But just look at that place. A slice of heaven, isn’t it?
Already we have reached (almost) the midpoint of our year, and the sixth month, June is several days old.
Here in my neighborhood we received record snow amounts and moisture this winter, which is said to be the effects of an El Niño year. I heard that about 150 lakes in the Sierra are still frozen and I believe it. This was the first picture of Salmon Lake this year, and much snow still surrounds the area. Waterfalls are popping up all over the place from snow run off, also building little streams and ponds of flooding.
I think hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) will be nearly impossible and extremely dangerous, if attempted this year. Waters will rise at raging levels, making any safe crossing extremely difficult. Also much of the trail through the high Sierra could well be buried under the heavy snow pack, which could hinder navigation and the overall progress.
While some roads in national parks such as Lassen Volcanic Park might not open until later in July due to snow, others such as the slopes of Mammoth Lakes plan to stay open until August. Wow, that’s almost unheard of and the hiking season is off to a late start when it comes to accessing some of my favorite areas.