I now interrupt this blog stream of anecdotes from last summer’s escapades for breaking news on plans being developed for the summer of 2014. Four esteemed members of the outdoor community summited in Lake Tahoe over the long President’s Day weekend to plan the route and logistics for hiking the Sierra High Route.
The Sierra High Route is a 200-mile route conceived by Steve Roper in the 70’s. His goal was to find a route that passed through the same beautiful neighborhoods that the John Muir Trail does, but without all of the nice luxuries such as, well, a trail. The Sierra High Route instead aims to stay higher, near timberline at 10,000 feet, crossing more than 30 passes and tramping through pristine wilderness. One blogger referred to it not as a thru-hike but as a thru-scramble because the terrain is rewarding but rough.
On Saturday the delegates remained amazingly focused, mapping out our route, and scheduling resupplies. We sat around the table reading Steve Roper’s route descriptions, consulting Secor’s sacred Peak’s Passes and Trails, with topo software and Google Earth up on the computers and maps covering the table. It is a great way to spend a Saturday; maps on the table, beer in your hand, friends by your side.
Sunday we were thrilled by how much we accomplished the day before and our focus dwindled. Discussions about gear, resupplies and logistics eventually disintegrated into an indoor rappelling session.
But this wasn’t before we received a mission from God. At church that morning Pastor Dick shared the 19th Psalm and mandated that we make time to enjoy the majesty of God’s creation. We take his decree seriously.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. –Psalm 19:1
By Monday morning Rich and I were the only ones left at the house. He suggested we go snowshoeing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed to join him. Sometime shortly after I was straddling a sapling as I negotiated a narrow passage, I was kicking a step into the steep slope in front of me when Rich yelled over the howling winds, “I think this is the most difficult snow shoeing I’ve ever done.” This from the man who’s snowshoes I was wearing had been with him when he summited Denali.
It was great training. Training for our muscles and endurance. Training to keep a smile on your face even as the elements were trying to beat you down, and training to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
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