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Jo - Sierra High Route Journal - 2011

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State: California
Country: USA
Begins: Aug 6, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, Oct 17th, 2011
Start: Dusy Basin
End: South Lake Trailhead
Daily Distance: 7
Trip Distance: 93.5

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 3,216
Journal Visits: 13,204
Guestbook Views: 610
Guestbook Entrys: 4

Last PLB Location

Sierra High Route Map

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Snow plants near Bishop Pass

Dusy Basin to South Lake Trailhead

September 6: “Wanderer, your footsteps are the path; wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking”--Antonio Machado

Machado wrote this verse about life, but it aptly describes the trailess way of the High Sierra Route upon which we traveled; climbing the high passes, crossing crystalline creeks, winding through idyllic valleys, past azure lakes--a path we make by walking--a metaphor for our lives.

It was very cold in the morning and the wind was blowing. We started moving at 5:35 a.m.--there was light but the sun wouldn’t rise for another hour. I was feeling better for the night’s rest, but I knew I wasn’t well. I felt discouraged by a persistent nausea that seemed unwarranted for just a bad cold.

We were on the trail by 6:53 a.m. and after half an hour, Calvin, the Mississipian from Tupelo, popped out of some trees where he and Brian were sheltering from the bone-chilling wind. He commented that he was glad to see me looking better and shared that he had thought they were going to have to call in medical help from the way I looked the day before. This surprised me, because sick as I felt, it never occurred to me that I might look or really be that sick. We hiked to the top of Bishop Pass and started the 6 mile hike down to our exit point at South Lake. I was happy. I hadn’t expected to return and finish this first section of the Sierra High Route and I had not only completed it, but Kerry had been able to share a part of the journey. We had a few days together in this incredibly stunning country again, a real privilege. Because we have been section hiking the Continental Divide (see CDT journal) for the past three years, our Sierra Nevada time had been severely diminished, and it was good to come “home.”

At the South Lake parking lot, Brian, the other Mississipian, arrived and we offered to take him and Calvin to Bishop. We had beer in the back of the truck and miraculously, it was still cold from the night. Kerry offered one to Brian and then to Calvin who came trundling in about 20 minutes later. It was morning, but they were in a celebratory mood.

We drove into Bishop where we went back to La Casitas restaurant and ate lunch; the same place we ate at in August at the end of our last hike. Afterwards, we drove Calvin and Brian to Mammoth to await the arrival of their friend and we returned to the road for the long ride home. They made promises to stay in touch as instant friends tend to do--they didn’t, but we had a good time with them for the 2 days that our paths had crossed.

At home, I didn’t feel any better in the next couple of days, and finding that I was running a fever I went to the doctor who informed me that I had bronchitis with a secondary infection. This made me feel better--now that I had a legitimate reason to feel bad! I found it interesting that the one day I had on the cross country section of the SHR was the one day that I felt relatively well!

My Sierra High Route journey ended, at least for this year, I had time to think about it. It had been quite different from what I had anticipated in some ways (I had not understood the difficulty of “mountain climbing”) and yet in other ways it was exactly what I expected (the vast open spaces and the high mountains that capture my spirit). To me, it was never about a goal, about finishing the journey; it was, and is about the journey--as Machado said so eloquently, “the path is made by walking.”

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Journal Photo

Sierra High Route - 2011

The mountains are calling and I must go
John Muir


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