On our recent backpacking trip into the Sierra Nevada Mountains we stopped at our favorite dinner location along the way. A nice quiet spot in the Alabama Hills looking up at the beautiful crags of Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. When the sun started to set we were in for a breathtaking surprise of insanely beautiful color. Awestruck.
Hikers traveling through Mather Pass on the Pacific Coast Trail/John Muir Trail in the high Sierras, California. Note: snow still on the ground and melting, rounded granite boulders dotting the landscape, and see the difference in texture between the rocks they’re walking past and the high peaks - the high peaks are probably metamorphic rocks, making them more jagged and angular than the surrounding granite.
My wife and I took cross country ski lessons in Yosemite. It was more difficult than I imagined since you’re skiing uphill and downhill but once I got the hang of it I absolutely loved it. After our lessons we ventured off on our own and headed up to the top of Old Badger Summit. The uphill was easier for me but the downhill can be a bit tricky because the back of your boot is not locked to the ski. I finally got the hang of cutting back and forth by the end of the day but the easiest trick is just crossing your skis like a snow plow. We have some snow camping trips planned in the near future but we definitely need to build up some muscles and ski experience before we head out deep into the backcountry.
This time we camped around 3,000ft lower in elevation than where we were skiing. We stayed at Camp Curry, which is at 4,000ft in elevation. We opted for an unheated tent to save some money, and only a little snow remained at this elevation from the recent snow storm. It was $40 for the night, about twice the price of getting a regular campsite. I’d say the biggest downside of Camp Curry is you can’t cook anywhere on the premise which is pretty much B.S. since they have restaurants and food services not far from the tents. For us this ended up being a good thing because we discovered a cool little area not too far away to get our cooking on. It got down to about 20° in the middle of the night, and we came prepared with a 0° sleeping bag and a 25° sleeping bag and we were both quite toasty. Next time I’m guessing we’ll just bring our tent and hit a campground. We’ll be back to Yosemite soon as we plan to venture further and further into the snow with each trip.