What difference is there from one high lake to another? The stones on the shore are mostly the same. The water is always hydrogen and oxygen. Sure, one thousand-foot pile of rocks might not look exactly like another thousand-foot pile of rocks, but what new lessons do rock piles have to teach me, anyway? What novelty do the mountains really offer?
A light snow covered most of the hills and much of the desert floor around us. The White Mountains reflected clear in the waters of Mono Lake. It took us most of a day to drive down to here from the bay area, but in a setting as serene as the High Sierra in winter, who would rush?
Today was the big day. Everything else we had done on this trip was only a warm-up to today. We rolled out of our sleeping bags, threw some food into our backpacks, and hiked out of the portal. Tons of people were already on the trail, headlamps bobbing up and down the trail in the dark. The nervous excitement was palpable.
After spending four days at altitude, the last two days were a breeze. Thinking the climb from LeConte Canyon up to Dusy Basin would take all day, we got up pretty early. Since the climb was all on trail, unlike the hike over Lamarck Col a few days prior, we had a pretty easy time with this one.
Friends have told me that Evolution Basin is the most scenic area in the Sierra Nevada. Nick, Tyler, and I spent the previous day slogging for twelve hours cross-country in order to spend two days cruising through this area at a leisurely pace. We spent day three of our trip strolling through most of the basin from Evolution Lake to Wanda Lake, stopping frequently to snack or just to take it all in. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Some would call me a masochist. I beam a special grin after a three-hour run. Endorphins rush through my body after a full day’s worth of cross-country hiking. I like to make people think I’m hardcore. I like it when people think I’m crazy. To be honest, though, it’s no sense of courage, stamina, or even self-punishment that drives me into these grueling, overly-ambitious outings. It’s simply poor planning. I’m a perennial overestimator. Such was the case for this trip with Nick and Tyler out of Bishop into the High Sierra.