Escape! Sometimes you just need to get away, change your environment, do something new in order to move forward. What I’m finding out is that in California, a weekend trip can be like a mini vacation. Last Saturday morning Brandon, Eric, and I jumped in the car at 5am and drove up to the Inyo National Park, strapped our packs on and were hiking by 11am.
The route was a 6 mile hike into Lake Genevieve with 2000ft of elevation gain. This hike was hard. We started at 8000ft and ended up just around 10,000ft. I definitely felt the thinner air and with the extra weight on my back the last mile was tough. But the sights and sounds were gorgeous and peaceful. There was snow on the ground and the sun to warm you up. We got to Lake Genevieve as the sun was setting at about 530pm, set up camp and devoured a whole box of couscous with Indian Fares. I was exhausted, but managed to stay awake another hour while we set up our tent and cleaned up from dinner. The boys had the great idea of heating up water and filling our water bottles. My metal canteen was so nice and toasty in the 20 degree weather. For warmth the three of us crammed into a two person tent and I passed out pretty soon after.
We all had an intermittently restful night sleeping shoulder to shoulder haha, but it wasn’t the worst sleep I’d ever had in a tent. We rose with the sunrise and were out of camp by 715am, back out to lake Mildred by 830am and goofed around the lake. Brandon and Eric filled up our water bottles and then we stashed our backpacks by a camping spot so we could hike up Mount Baldwin.
|The Sierras and Lake Mildred|
I thought Saturday was long, but hiking Baldwin was worse. We probably got started around 10am, walked a quarter mile to the trail head and started our ~3000ft climb. This mountain was STEEP. I think we only covered 7-8 miles round trip, but it took us 5 hours to get to the top and 3 hours to come down because a lot of the trail was either covered in snow or covered in rocks. Eric and Brandon calmly bowled through everything, stamping down snow and scrambling up and down rocks to figure out where to go. We got lost a few times and had to back track, and at one point we were pretty much rock climbing.If I had been by myself I’d probably be dead, so I’m grateful they were there but it was a crazy experience for me. Part of me was like “oh ok, I’ll follow” and another part of me was like “um…you’re gonna die”. I think I was too exhausted to really take in what I just did because that was pretty crazy. Brandon was pretty excited that we stomped all over that stupid mountain, but I think all I wanted to do was be in a place where I wouldn’t have to hike anymore.
|@ the top of Mt Baldwin|
No dice. Once we made it back to our backpacks at 530pm, we had only eaten bars all day and had to hike the rest of the 5 miles out to Brandon’s Suby. So yes, we hiked in the dark. Headlamps on, we got started just as the sun went down and the moon came out. Luckily it was all downhill, I slipped on a tree crossing the stream and then tripped on a rock, but we got to the car by 8pm. I think we were all exhausted and in pain by the time we got to the car. Eric and I ripped off the shoes and wanted to tear into the food, but Brandon rushed us into the car to try and catch dinner in Bishop before the restaurants all closed at 9pm. I think we crossed the town about 5 times before we found a place that was open, the Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ. It was like home away from home. The staff and owner were so friendly I was reminded of what it’s like to be in the south. The food was pretty good too, but no Rudy’s BBQ. The next day I chilled while the boys bouldered around Bishop, then we had a delicious dinner at Whiskey Creek and drove home. All in all a hard but great weekend.