Many months ago now, Aubrey and I were fortunate to have found time to go on our annual adventure. For about 10 years I had wanted to explore the Gardiner Basin in the Sierra, which is the basin that the popular Rae Lakes loop circumnavigates. It takes quite an effort to get in, and out… our loop was about 35 miles and 11,000 feet up and down. But it was worth every step.
Our trip started with some thunder and rain, and for a moment it almost felt like we were back in the Northwest. After two days of weather, the skies parted and we enjoyed crisp and clear weather as we navigated our way through the granite landscape. Our route took us past the Rae Lakes, to the Sixty Lakes Basin, and up and over a remote pass into the upper Gardiner Basin. Once there, we saw very little signs of any human activity.
Our camp beside a remote lake provided stunning view of Mt Gardiner. One of the symptoms of getting older is that I now have to get up to pee in the middle of the night. On this particular occasion, the milky way was fortuitously aligned with Gardiner Peak. A cluster of Jeffrey Shooting Stars provided the perfect foreground.
The following day we descended 3,000 feet through forest and granite, alongside steep braided waterfalls. Reaching the bottom of the valley of course meant we needed to climb right back up. The faint use path barely provided any guidance, but the mosquitoes motivated us to keep moving. For our final day we scrambled up and over the pass, through an epic avalanche path, and made our way back to Kearsarge pass.
Hopefully such adventures will become more frequent again, now that we are getting settled into our new careers and home. Our little parrot is doing a great job of bringing some wilderness into the home, though. Pictures at the end
Tags: backpacking, California, mountains, sierra