|Beautiful Sky Lake|
I've never been one to have fitness goals to stay motivated (I guess unless you count running marathons: To Not Die. To Finish. To Break Four Hours). I don't keep a spreadsheet of miles hiked or run or biked. I don't need those things; after typing at a computer for ten hours it's just natural to want to get outside and do something. But earlier this year I realized that I was close to a milestone: thirty nights spent backpacking for the year. That's not car camping. It doesn't count the days you pack up and hike out. No, it's the actual night, in a tent, that you backpacked to get to. (I'm not counting the suffocating two mile walk down the blacktop to the Yosemite Backpackers Campground, dodging unsteady bicyclists either. Though we did walk with our packs to get there. Hmm).
So anyway, thirty nights doesn't sound like a lot, but when you have a job and the season is basically three months, that's kind of a lot. I liked the round number of it. A month of my life in the wilderness.
|On the pass|
I have to stop here to address something. I feel as though lately this blog has become a mono blog. Backpack, backpack, backpack. I was thinking about this as I hiked upward through the alpine valley of Copper Creek. Because walking with a heavy pack isn't really what it's about. Because going out to camp when the low, in town, four thousand feet below Sky Lake, is only supposed to be 24 degrees, wouldn't be most people's cup of tea. Because a lot of it is exhausting, sweaty and hard.
|Last year and the year before, we had to cross a snow slide. This is what is left this year, in a really dry summer. This snow never melts.|
I realized as I finally reached Sky Lake, a place that does indeed look like a small fabric of the sky, that backpacking evens me out. In my real life, I'm kind of a worrier (I know, shocking). It's hard not to worry about things like owing more on my house than I can sell it for, that as a federal worker I have a big target on my back if the Republicans get elected, sequestration (look it up), and a host of other stupid things that I really can't do anything about anyway. When I'm out in the wilderness, a lot of that melts away. It doesn't seem important anymore. Maybe that's why I do it.
|My husband laughs at these sunglasses. I call them my "movie star sunglasses". They're big.|
This Copper Creek country is wild and remote and crazy beautiful. There are lakes that are nameless and untouched. Valleys and ridges and passes that just beg to be explored. As usual, I didn't give myself enough days and found myself trying to cram it all in in twenty-four hours. I slogged up a trail that is no longer on the map when I should have just stayed in camp after the arduous hike in. The creeks were iced over, some solid. The lake was rimmed with ice. I had to retreat after a chilly night.
|Two nameless lakes. Not even sure if you can safely get there.|
|I took a side trail to this miner's cabin. What an ideal spot.|
|The floor is the granite slab. It's the perfect size for me! The bed is the perfect length. Maybe I should move in.|
|Love this alpine valley. Note the ice.|
|I am standing on solid ice.|