Monday, May 25, 2009

Back on the Trail


Took a short hike out to camp at Island Lake up in the Sierras a little over an hour from where I live. It's amazingly beautiful up there, especially with all the snow right now, and I was glad to get in before it got too over-run with people.


I had really meant to stay up at Penner Lake another mile or so from where I ultimately stopped and set up camp. I wasn't expecting there to still be so much snow up there though, and my poor heels still soft and weak from my last trip that rip them apart started to feel raw again almost immediately down the trail. Don't get me wrong, I was surely appreciative of the water-proofness of my boots on such a wet trail, but all the same I was tempted to throw them in the fire for what they have done to my feet over the last two trips. Definitely a hundred a twenty bucks down the toilet on those podiatical torture devices. A nice comfy pair of trail running shoes are my next purchase...


Anyways, thanks to stopping short of my intended destination, my feet really didn't get too bad. So aside from boot frustration, things went really well.


It was nice spending the better part of the day by myself exploring my way up to Penner lake (The trail was almost impossible to follow without constant consulting of my GPS), fishing a bit (though they weren't biting), enjoying a fire, and taking photos. I finished off my day of solitude cooking up my favorite backpacking meal, the lasagna, which I spread thickly on the nice warm tortillias that I cooked up right on my little stove. Soon after I had hung my food for the night, photographed the last light of the day, and then happened by a couple of families heading in looking for a camp after a long day of fighting the traffic from the bay area.


We spoke briefly about how they make the journey out here every year for memorial weekend, and that they were trying to get to the other side of the lake just past where I was camped, hoping to find a spot there not covered in snow. I had a hunch that they wouldn't have much luck, especially with the light fading fast, so I offered to share my quite large camp area with them if they couldn't find anything on the other side.


About fifteen minutes later I had the fire roaring and was delighted to play host as they came trudging back with their heavy stuffed packs. Turned out my decision benefited more than just my karma, as they were a really nice group of people to hang out with and they came bearing gifts of wine and a flask full of Bourbon with a touch of sweet vermouth. I'm horrible with names, but good with faces, so hopefully we'll meet again out there some time. I do recall that one of them worked for Lazzari Fuel Company, so if anyone knows him let him know I said thanks for sharing his flask full of a very dry Manhattan.


The rest of the evening was spent helping to pitch tents in the dark, watching the teenage boys roast marshmellows stuffed with jelly beans, and sipping spirits under the vast starry filled skies by the fire. Quite an enjoyable way to spent the night.


On the way out I had to stop off and admire my favorite flowering trees, the dogwoods. All along where Bowman Lake Road meets highway 20 they were in magnificent bloom.

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