Today’s views more than compensated for yesterdays lack.
Fairly early on, before breakfast, we climbed up onto the Sierra Crest. The trail was to stick close to the top of the ridge all day, dancing from one side to the other. To the west, green wooded foothills rolled off toward the central valley. To the east was immense Lake Tahoe and Nevada. Views of the lake were beautiful and we welcomed crossing over to the east side of the ridge every time. Often we were blessed with a section of ridge walk from which we could gaze off in either direction.
It seems like we have been at this long enough for it to be our lives. As a consequence, our daily hikes are subject to the cycles anyone experiences in a routine life. Sometimes, the task at hand is exciting. Sometimes it is boring or uninteresting. Our feelings regarding it seem to be regulated internally and at times seem to have nothing to do with what the task is. Days like today are wonderful in that something rises up to break the patters. Certainly, for me, it was the morning sun piercing an array of interesting clouds and bouncing off the wide blue surface of the lake. It is large. We saw it a full day before reaching it. Now, after two and a half days we are barely leaving it behind. Even eating dinner on the east slope of Tinker Knob we could catch glimpses of it to the south.
There were some day hikers and even overnighters out on the trail today. One guy told us that Alpine Meadows ski area, which we had just cut across the top of, and Squaw Valley, which we would later cut across, were both open until the fourth of July last year. By all accounts so far, we are lucky this is a low snow year. Starting as early as we did last year would have been an utter nightmare. It was amusing to us, while traversing one of Squaw’s ski runs, to imagine dodging skiers.
Tonight we are close to Donner Pass on a windswept ridge between Tinker Knob and Anderson Peak. A small cluster of wind twisted trees block its persistence from us. By the time we get to Sierra City we will be under 5,000 ft. elevation. It seems like a long way down from where we have come.