SEPTEMBER IN THE SIERRAS
We had a wedding in the Bay Area this September, so we decided to take a week off and road trip up north. We also decided to hit up Yosemite (finally!) since I have been in California for 6.5 years and I have yet to lay eyes on Yosemite’s massive walls of granite. I was really excited.
To start off this adventure, we spent our first night in Lone Pine, camping at Tuttle Creek. From there we went on to Bishop to visit friends and do some bouldering. Next up, we drove to Saddle Bag Lake Campground. This leg of our trip involved Mt. Conness, a 12,589 ft peak located in the Inyo National Forest right outside of the Yosemite boundary. This peak was to be my very first alpine climb!
During our time at Saddle Bag, San Diego was experiencing a heat wave and when we checked the weather prior to our trip, Yosemite was also showing warm temperatures. Needless to say we showed up for this climb unprepared without rain gear. When we arrived at the Lake, it was pouring, of course. But we decided to wake up at 4am to check things out and the sky was clear. We decided to go for it, but grabbed some trash bags just in case.
Mt. Conness is a pretty easy climb, but it has a lot of exposure that definitely made it mentally challenging. The route ended up looking much harder and scarier than it actually was technically which made for a thrilling (first climb) experience. Luckily it remained clear throughout our ascent, but as we neared the main peak, the sky started to turn. When we reach the summit, it started to snow on us! Thankfully, we had trash bags, now our makeshift ponchos. At this moment I had to appreciate that last year I almost missed snow fall completely (and was pretty upset about it) and this year I was experiencing it in September from the top of a mountain. So my spirits were still high at least until we descended enough for it to turn into rain. However, even with the rain, the descent was absolutely stunning. Flowing creeks and hillside meadows led us further down the mountain to where we began our day about 13 hours earlier. Luckily the hard rain held off until we made it back into the van, then it proceeded to come down non-stop all night long, until the morning when we were greeted by frosty temperatures and snowcapped peaks. We definitely lucked out with our small window of clear skies and moderate weather. We heard that during clear skies, the views form the top of Mt. Conness are unbelievable, but even alongside the dark and ominous clouds, the view was quite breathtaking. All in all, this was an unforgettable and rewarding experience that I definitely endorse.
After sleeping a full night and then some… we were pretty tired, we drove into Yosemite Valley. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side. But it was clear enough to experience its grandeur. Also noted, the bad weather does not deter people from visiting. There were a lot of people, I can only imagine what it is like on a nice day. But I am happy to say that I have finally visited this famous park and I look forward to going back one day. From there we kept moving north, visiting lots of friends and family until we made it to the wedding in Marin. Overall, it was a pretty great trip and I am looking forward to the next one.