July 9-12, 2018.
Having enjoyed even the short bit of dirt into ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮ - I mean the secret Sierra location, the next few days would be a whole different type of trip than I'm used to - we'd be sleeping in the same spot each night, there'd be no scramble to reach camp before dark, and any excursions were more likely to be on foot than in the trucks.
Come to think about it, this was the camping I'd grown up with - well, except that it was a camp site much more like those of my trips today (as opposed to the "crowded" camp grounds of my childhood).
Of course, such a trip means that times of day tend to blend together as routines are established (or, in the case of the fogies - followed to a tee) so that's how I'll relate the experience here... minus the out-of-camp adventures, which will get their own post!
Positioning the truck and setting up on the edge of the canyon below camp predictable of me to say the least, but I knew it came with a gamble. As usual, I'd want to be up early to capture sunrise, but I was unsure if the mountains around us would block the colorful displays (morning seemingly more finicky than evening).
Of course, nature has a way of working things out - every morning that I was able to rouse myself early, there was a unique display of light to enjoy.
Shadow rays, cast by what were essentially the only clouds in the sky one morning.
Pink poof balls another.
And there were of course the more traditional orange horizons as well.
One of the best parts of staying in the same spot every day was that mornings were lazy. Well, all times of day were lazy but for me, lazy mornings meant that after capturing sunrise, I could climb back into the tent and read my book until I fell asleep again...waking up a second time a couple hours later, to enjoy what usually ended up being a bit of exploration around camp.
Of course, I wasn't the only one out an about, enjoying the day before the heat started baking the exposed granite. Pops was up too - birding to his hearts delight with ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮ in the background.
▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮ always looked splendid in the early morning light, and of course the sound of the water rushing over the granite was music to my ears. I spent several hours over several days hopping from rock to rock, exploring the creek and it's immediate surroundings.
Of course, Pops and I weren't the only ones enjoying our surroundings. The other veteran of the trip was out and about himself, one morning reporting a fresh bear track he'd found in the road. Cool!
Eventually though, we'd all rendezvous back at camp, where we'd partake of a small breakfast and commence relaxation. Reading all around, crossword puzzles for the old guys, it was a tough life.
Until it got tougher: lunch.
Lunch every day was amazing, and I got no photos. Each day, Pops and I were treated to what can only be called a "professional grade" sandwich. Starting with a delicious sliced sourdough, the contents included deli meat, cheese, fresh tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, red onions, and of course condiments of our choice. Paired with chips and our favorite beverage, lunch quickly became one of my favorite times of day.
Oh, and I only made the mistake of having half of one of these beauties on the first day. From then on, it was a full sandwich for me!
Afternoon (Naps, and a Dip in the Creek)
As you can imagine, after a delicious sandwich and a morning of exploring, 94ºF afternoons were a perfect time to take a nap - and I tried to almost every day! But of course afternoons were another great time to be out exploring.
Some of the Junipers around camp were grand, and likely hundreds of years old.
There were blue-bellied lizards everywhere, seemingly engaged in the same enjoyment of the area that we were - out sunning themselves on rocks until we'd walk by and they'd scurry away.
And of course, there was just nature's beauty to take in.
As afternoon turned to evening, we'd head down to a favorite swimming hole at the creek for the ritual swim, the water in the 60's - refreshing when the air temps are nearing 100ºF!
Sunsets turned out to be amazing. Perhaps we just lucked out, or maybe they're always like this in such a special place. The entire sky would fill with color - be it pink or orange - and the reflection on the white granite ground would give the entire area a glow that is hard to describe.
(Apologies for the dump of photos - I culled as much as I could before settling on these seven.)
As the sun set, we'd light up the camp fire and whoever was in charge of dinner for the evening would set to work. With a "full kitchen area" including a stove, grill, freezer+fridge, and about 15-feet of counter space, dinners were as fabulous as the rest of the trip - we ate well.
And after dinner, we'd enjoy the fire into the night. Usually, I'd read my book while the oldies worked on crosswords - surely trying to hone vocabulary that they'd forgotten years ago. I'm not sure if they ever finished a crossword without cheating, or if they ever finished at all - since I was always off to bed well before they were.
Nights were warm and just a little breezy - a perfect combination in my book. And the stars. Of course, like anywhere remote more of them were visible - luckily for us, moonlessly for the majority of the night. Definitely no expert, I tried to capture the beauty one night while I slept...
The Rest of the Time
Of course, we weren't always in camp - most days included some sort of exploration away from our base, given so much around to locally explore. But that's another chapter...
There's More to Somewhere in the Sierras