Day 56: Up and Down the Sierra (and Up, and Down, and…)

We’re camped above 10,000 feet for the first time on this trip these past two nights. In fact, we’re only 40 feet higher tonight than we were last night. Yet if you think that means we had a flat, easy walk today, well…yeah. No. Now that we’ve made it to the Sierra, the trail just seems to go up one mountain, reach a pass, go down the other side, and then repeat all over again. It’s spectacularly beautiful out here, yet more difficult hiking than we’ve had the entire trip. I don’t think either of us would trade it for easier, desert hiking in a million years.

The Sierra are full of pine forests, high mountain meadows, rocky crests, sandy hillsides, and anything else you could possibly want. I wish words could ever do it justice. Heck, I wish pictures could ever do it justice; even the widest of panoramas doesn’t come close to capturing the beauty you see out here. And we’re still not even in the most impressive parts of the mountains; Mount Whitney pretty much defines the southern end of the very highest peaks, and it’s still over thirty miles off. We haven’t had any high alpine lakes yet, even, but I’m still blown away by everything I see out here.

Tonight, while you at home may have running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, a nice soft bed to crawl into, and pretty much anything you could ever want to eat…we have a campsite on the side of a beautiful mountain, with the sun setting over distant peaks, and birds singing all around us. In this moment, I’m so utterly happy we’re out here.

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