Blog Archive

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ridges for Days

Day 73 8/24
Mileage 16
Camped at mile 1147

I'm back on my home turf! An hour of hiking brought us to I-80. We stopped and loitered for quite a while, coordinated logistics and made some phone calls. After a multi-hour break, we ambled out and began to climb again. A couple section hikers told us there was free beer for PCT hikers at Donner Ski Ranch. Heyo! We ate a bunch of fried food, which came at a very opportune time, as I'm worried about my food supply lasting until the end of this resupply. We began climbing again, after a great deal of lingering and chatting. We saw a bunch of people recreating near Sugar Bowl as we climbed. That's a strange word. Re-creating? What are they re-creating? The last time they recreated? What about the first time someone does something for leisure? Is that just creation? We may never know. After we made it to the top of Sugar Bowl, we ended up on a ridge, which we followed for most of the remainder of the day. What a ridge it was! Expansive views on both sides spread out into the distance. We caught our first glimpses of Lake Tahoe far beneath us, and behind it loomed mountains even higher than the ones in which we found ourselves. I found myself eagerly anticipating losing myself in them (metaphorically speaking) and wandering between their peaks and among their valleys. It was late in the day, and the low sun covered everything in what looked like liquid gold. I have oft appreciated Muir's "Range of Light", and its general abundance of luminosity. Today, however, I agreed with his terminology more than I ever had. There's something special about the light in the Sierras. It seems almost to have substance, as if the mountainsides were truly being bathed in light. Late in the day, I feel like I could almost reach out with a melon baller (or similar utensil), grab a scoop of light, stick in in a water bottle, and use it as a lantern in camp that night. At midday, the power of the sun's rays is incredible. When I move out of a shadow, I immediately feel the astounding warmth, almost uncomfortably hot, of the sun on my back, pushing on me as if it had considerable weight. The sun sank lower as I followed the ridge by myself (Pete and Kyle were ahead, as I had stopped for a break) and the colors became even more vibrant. I passed behind the shadow of a peak and lost sight of the sun for a while. When I rounded the corner again and the sun reappeared, hovering just above a distant ridge, the sunset was in full bloom. The sheer beauty of it all brought tears to my eyes. We dropped down below the ridge and found a sheltered spot to camp. Today was pretty okay, I guess.

Ridge above Sugar Bowl

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