In 2023, the High Sierra was not for the faint of heart. With record-breaking snowfall, many hikers looked for other paths. The whispers grew louder: "Should we move on or skip ahead?" But something in me thought, “If not now, when?” I had my doubts. But as the Sierra got closer, I saw a brave few heading straight into the snow. And I thought, "If they can, so can I." Every step was tough, but every view was a reward.
Before stepping foot on those snow-covered trails, I had to gear up. My pack was filled with essentials: a bear-proof canister, water-resistant socks, an ice axe for those tricky spots, crampons for grip, and enough food to last over a week.
New Days, New Routines
The Sierra taught me a new way to hike. I started early, at 3:30 am, to catch the snow when it was still hard – way better than the afternoon's slushy mess. Yeah, those dark, cold starts were rough, especially wrestling with frozen shoes. But the world was quiet, the snow sparkled, and the sunrise? Absolutely worth it.
In the desert, I'd covered 22 miles a day. Here, it was 8-10 miles, but each one was special. After hours in the cold, a warm breakfast felt like a treat. And every night, after setting camp and eating, sleep came easy.
Highs, Lows, and Laughs
The Sierra tested my grit, but also gifted me unforgettable moments. Freezing nights, rock-solid shoes in the morning, and dreams of a cozy bed. Among the highlights? Glissading – basically a fancy term for sliding down snow-covered slopes. It was pure fun, even with the occasional slip or tumble.
Climbing Mt. Whitney was the highlight. It wasn't easy, but reaching the top, I felt on top of the world. The view was breathtaking, and the feeling? Pure gold.
The High Sierra taught me more about myself than any other place. It was tough, sure, but it was also amazing. Every challenge, every laugh, every sunrise was a reminder that when we push past our doubts, incredible things can happen.
Leaving the High Sierra, I felt stronger, happier, and so grateful for the journey. Here's to all our adventures, big and small!