Red Echo

July 20, 2015

Yosemite backpacking

I’m back in Seattle after a week in California. The backpacking trip went well and I am really glad I went. The group was a little smaller than average, but even a small slice of my very large family adds up to a good-sized crowd. Still, it was funny that my mother and I were the only people present who had actually participated in the notorious Disaster Hike – for everyone else it was just a pretty loop among some alpine lakes.

The beginning of the hike was a bit stiffer than we’d anticipated; I’m not sure what the trail builders were thinking, but they had us do a lot of climbing and descending without encountering any notable vista or any other apparent justification. Once we reached Crescent Lake, however, the loop was steady and smooth.

Mom, AJ, Abigail, and I all scrambled up Buena Vista Peak as the trail crossed its shoulder, yielding a glorious panoramic view of the southern park, a perspective I’ve never seen before. We camped that night by Buena Vista Lake, peaceful and quiet, with a beautiful glowing sunset rolling across the granite; I’ve never seen waves on a lake reflecting quite so distinctly orange and blue.

We had planned to find an unmaintained cross-country trail leading from the main trail past Hart Lakes over to Ostrander Lake, but after looking at the terrain from atop Buena Vista, decided it would be easier and more fun to bushwack across Horse Ridge instead. This started out as a ridiculously pleasant walk through a spacious forest, but once we reached the crest of Horse Ridge we discovered that the far side is a precipice, not shown on our maps. With a bit of exploring we found a steep but workable ravine cutting through the sheer face, however, and after a little work we got everyone down and across to the Ostrander Lake bowl.

Oh, such a lovely day that was, and so satisfying to dip our feet in the water!

AJ and I weathered the trip with ease; you know you’ve got something good when the relationship-maintenance work flows so easily and automatically that it doesn’t even feel like work.