Heart of Solitude, One Year Later

It’s been a year since two friends and I crossed the Sierra Nevada through its most remote heart. For me, it was a spiritual experience, extremely difficult — the most challenging climb/hike I’ve ever done — and a reference point for all things afterwards.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I have been so out of touch with nature since then, and decided to post a few pics from that time. (My brief encounter with nature in Batroun, see previous post, made me realize that.)

I am too selfish to write the place names — I don’t want this to be searchable and then draw a bunch of people to these amazing places. Some spots are secret and sacred, and should only be available to people who study topo maps for hours and dream about the obscure swaths of peaks, canyons and lakes where no trails lead.

Your eyes follow the lines, and a landscape opens up in your head. The unnamed lakes with their high elevations printed on them, the creeks in canyons so narrow all the contours touch, the glaciers that cling to northeastern cliffs on the highest peaks are flat and dry on the unbeautiful paper, but your imagination runs wild. Then, when you finally see the places that inspired these maps, there is no way to exaggerate how beautiful this hidden land is. The feeling of crossing over mountains and valleys with only your food, maps and shelter — and no guide or path — is the closest thing I’ve felt to flying like a bird. Pure freedom.

I won’t name the places, but I will give a few clues: Enchanted Gorge, 10 days of hiking and an east-west traverse of the Sierra Nevada, completely off trail. And I will say that we once went three days in California without seeing another person, which is an accomplishment. Enjoy.

Peering into the Gorge.
Everything was silent as we passed between two peaks named after mythic monsters.

Mouth of the Enchanted
(and we look like a party of 1860s surveyors)

On top of the world, somewhere on the western ridges.
We had nearly completed our crossing.

Dimmy’s final resting place at 10,500 feet, where he lay down to sleep and turned into a stone (inside joke).

2 thoughts on “Heart of Solitude, One Year Later

  1. Pingback: Is it too late to wish my loyal readers Happy New Year? « The Long Gone Daddy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s