July 11, 2014

Where’s Your Sierra?

Where's Your Sierra?

I have a distinct mental image of "The Sierra"—and this isn't it. My Sierra is heavy on Owens Valley and fourteeners, with lots of dry, dusty, austere granite brooding high above sun-baked desert. I'm generally aware of other, wetter parts, such as Yosemite, but like the beach some two miles from my house I tend to forget it exists unless it's right in front of me.

As much as I've explored the range, the truth is I hardly know it, which is kind of wonderful. It allows me to randomly drive up a road to 'see what's up there' and walk 0.5 miles up a trail to a bench with my kids and suddenly be gobsmacked by a view like this: Little Lakes Valley, just past the Mosquito Flat parking area.

I've been collecting Harrison maps, and the more I get, the more I find blank spaces where I have no idea what I'll find there. Huge, vast stretches just waiting to challenge and expand my understanding of the range. I'm really starting to relate to Muir's famous quote: The Mountains are calling, and I must go.

Yes, yes, yes!

  1. Michael says:

    The “Range of Light” always blows my mind for it’s diversity – on many levels. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it you will walk into a place that leaves your jaw on the ground!

  2. Dan Conger says:

    Little Lakes Valley is one of the most gorgeous places in the range, and one of my favorite easy day destinations when I was growing up in Bishop. Mosquito Flat, at 10,250′ is the highest paved road on the west coast of North America, and it is a very easy hike up to all of those stunning lakes. Ringing the valley are 13,990′ Mt. Morgan, ~13,750′ Bear Creek Spire, and ~13,850′ Mt. Abbot. Blue sky, blue water, green trees and meadows, white granite … wow!!!

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When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

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