We decided to go back into the Sierra during the time between when my mother died and when her services were to be held. It just felt right and it soothed my spirits especially.
We decided to go back into an area we hiked many moons ago as young married couple. It was one of our first backpacking trips together and then it felt like quite a big hike. This time it felt way too short.
We didn’t get to Clover Meadow Ranger Station until about 3 in the afternoon, by the time we hit the trail it was close to 4. It felt like being embraced by a long-lost friend; so warm, comforting, and safe.
The hike began in the trees and cattle milled about here and there. Lovely. Our first night’s camp at Vandeburg Lake was about 6 miles from Clover Meadows. I hiked at high-speed, which isn’t too fast as my legs are quite short and at times the trail steep. Sweat rolled down my back like water on a cold glass. Mark struggled a bit and had to take a few trips out into the woods. I thought I was invincible and he thought he might be getting a stomach bug.
We got to the lake a little before sunset and Mark discovered his flu was a huge, heavy rock in his pack. He had been carrying an excess of 10 or 15 pounds that our oldest son, Zac, had hidden in his pack. Old family trick that Mark had played on Zac when he was a teen and had hiked too fast for us. Payback. We had a good laugh and left the autographed rock beside the lake for us to visit in another 20 years or so.
We watched the glow from the sunset and I felt relief for my mom’s release from her crippled mind, but also guilt that I didn’t spend more time with her. Isn’t that almost always the case? Sadness gripped me too. Both my parents are now gone. I wanted to cry, but couldn’t.
Nature hugged me and I hugged back.
The morning came quickly and we tore down camp excitedly to get hiking. The sun was warm and the air had a small taste of fall’s crispness. We spent a lot of time hiking on the granite and with sweeping views to the south. We could see the seven gables that we passed last year on the JMT.
We also came across a group of rangers doing trail and camp work and were pleasantly surprised to know one. When Mark was a volunteer ski patrol member, this man was the boss. We had a great visit. You just never know who you might bump into in the woods. Back in the day, Mark and I had a lovely chat with Captain and Tennile on the route to Half Dome.
Lillian Lake is lovely and we stopped for a morning snack.
Onward and upward to Rutherford Lake. I think there was about 6 or 7 miles between Vandeburg and Rutherford. I really don’t pay much attention to the miles passed, I just enjoy the view and the feel of the dirt beneath my feet.
Rutherford Lake is a beautiful alpine lake, but it wasn’t our stop for the day. While there was a trail to our destination, we wanted to follow an old route of ours as many, many years ago we had been here and then had proceeded down the slope to Anne Lake nestled amidst the trees. We knew just the spot to go for an afternoon dip off of a big, flat, granite rock.
Isn’t she lovely. We had a great afternoon here all by ourselves. We felt a bit like Adam and Eve.