Well my solo adventure did NOT go as planned! Two hours into my drive I encountered signs of the Ferguson Fire (currently 30,000 acres). At Yosemite’s entrance the Air Quality Index was above 200 and the air was hard to breath. Yosemite’s picturesque views were entirely hidden by thick smoke.
I kept driving to Tioga Pass where the air was clearer. Started a hike to the top of Mt Dana, Yosemite’s second tallest peak at 13,061’. By the time I passed the tree line, it started thundering. Uh oh. You do NOT want to be on top of a mountain when lightning strikes! I was going fast and I knew the trail wasn’t long, so I kept pushing on. But most people were already descending and a few told me they turned around when they heard thunder. It started raining and even hailing. I kept going up because I knew I was close and I could hear the thunder coming from the direction going away from me. When I reached the summit, I was greeted with these incredibly views of the Eastern Sierras. The peak was so steep that you can’t see ANY views to the south until you reach the summit! But I was HELLA scared about the lightning so I set my poles down, held onto a rock, took a few photos and then booked it back down (scared as hell and alone because no one else was dumb enough to climb a mountain in these conditions).
After I made it to my car I drove through rain and hail on Tioga Pass (not for the faint of heart) and then toward my campsite. But it was seriously storming—pouring, slick roads, lightning every few seconds. I did NOT want to drive back into those mountains to set up camp in the lightning.
I made the decision to head back to the Bay Area. On my drive home, my mom informed me that the highway I was driving on and my campground had a flash flood warning. I wondered what the conditions on the mountain would have been like if I had taken just a little longer.
I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t live out my solo camping, alpine lake hiking fantasies. Obviously weather doesn’t always cooperate, but my anxiety was also a factor. All day I had such anxious feelings about being alone. Maybe I’m not ready to be a solo adventurer yet—but I’ll get there!
A little known fact about me, when I was 12 my parents moved me back to California. I lived near Bishop California off hwy 395. So I explored mammoth lakes, mono lake and the sierras as a kid. But coming back this time was something special. Don’t get me wrong Arizona is amazing but wow this place stole my heart today. We wandered with no trails and nothing but gps to guide us. It was awesome. #sierranationalforest
I think I’m addicted to Yosemite
storm clouds gathering over the ansel adams wilderness today. ☁️⛈☁️
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pc: Dee Bright
FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN!!!
Here’s a shot from a little south over the Mammoth Pass, from a peak I scrabbled up off the PCT, of the Ferguson Fire currently burning in Yosemite. I had thunderstorms above me rolling, striking and raining on me, and the smoke to the west mixing in the sky with clouds and hanging in the valley in the foreground. I hope we get this contained soon! Yosemite Valley has been choked with smoke since it began.
Currently doing some trail work on and around the Pacific Crest Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Looks much different out here compared to last year. Shred.
Summit register, Graveyard Peak.
Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter command respect as they tower over Garnet Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
The stormy afternoon provided an electrifying environment that nigh overwhelmed my senses, and left me with an increased appreciation of the Sierra Nevada.