Sunday, July 14, 2013

Super Moon Camping - 1st Backpacking Trip in 2013

It's been quite a long time since I last posted on this blog. Life has fallen back into a routine and time seems to fly faster than ever. I can't believe it's been a whole year since I came back from our trip around the world. A whole year in which I haven't been on a plane, nor left California at all - yet, a year of a lot of personal growth, keeping busy and feeling really happy and content with myself. Of course, not everything is perfect and satisfying, but the key is to weigh in all the positive aspects of your life vs the negative ones - and see how much more good than bad there is, overall. 

This blog post is about the first backpacking trip of the summer. I was invited by my friend Lynda to join her and some of her friends on an overnight backpacking trip in the Sand Ridge / 5 Lakes basin area in the Sierra-Tahoe National Forest. The hike is about 14 miles round-trip and I would label it as easy to moderate. There are lots of flat portions and the uphill parts are short. Overall, a relaxed hike, could be a good warmup for other, more strenuous hikes. The trail passes by several beautiful mountain lakes, and you really lose track of them. Every half an hour or so, there is a new lake in sight.  But I'll let the images do the talking: 

The second night of camping was the summer solstice night - which also happened to be the famous "supermoon" night. It was the perfect place to see it. The photo above is right before the moon peeked out from behind the ridge in the background. 

The first night we camped at the beginning of the trail. We left San Francisco right after work on Friday and got there at 10pm. The last few miles were on a really gnarly dirt road covered in huge rocks. My car is not suitable for offroading, so we took it very slow - and my heart skipped a beat for every scratching sound coming from the underbelly of the car. At 10pm we hiked a bit in the dark looking for a spot to set our tents. Made some dinner and a fire and went to bed exhausted from the drive. I love camping so much, but I hate setting up tents in the dark.

The next day in the morning we were ready to hike and waited in the parking lot for the others to arrive. Some people got lost on the way (the fire roads weren't very well marked), so we had a bit of a late start.

And so it begins...

First lake we passed by was also the place where we took most photos. Everyone was really excited and trigger-happy. We really had to get the photo-taking out of our systems.

With my friends Jake, Lynda and Courtney.

With others in the crew and Guthrie the golden retriever - one of the best dogs in the world, hands down.

Courtney making it to the top of the biggest climb of the hike. As you can see, it's a pretty mild incline.

It's hard to tell, but there's actually a huge deep valley right behind me.

Posing with Guthrie the dog, aka Gucci Mane.

Babe ahoy!

Courtney killed it on her first backpacking trip.

Another rest stop and time to take some more photos.

Hope Graham doesn't think I'm a copycat again. If he ever gets to read this, hah!

And off we go again.

We're almost at the end of the hike!

That lake in the background is where we'll be camping and swimming. Yay! Oh, what I didn't mention is that I almost didn't make it on this hike. 2 weekends before the hike I crashed a dirt bike and injured my knee really badly. For up until 2 days before the hike I wasn't even able to walk properly without excruciating pain. But I bought hiking poles (which helped A LOT, by the way!!) and loaded myself with Ibuprofen even before the hike started. It all went really well and I'm glad I didn't bail out.

Lynda contemplating on the beauty of our destination.

Restocking our water supply from a little creek.

We found a slab of snow that hadn't melted yet and cooled off on it. Here you can see Courtney lying on the snow. It was really hot outside and right after this we went for a swim in the lake. Quite a nice mix of elements. Later at night we used the snow to cool off our drinks.

The lake in all its mighty glory. It was all ours. The beauty of backpacking is that you have to work for your reward. And your reward is always something that you know you earned, something that others can't get unless they put in the same amount of effort. For that I love the isolation, privilege and exclusive access that backpacking provides. You get the best of nature, in its most unspoiled form. It's like having the penthouse apartment of nature.

And speaking of penthouse apartments - this is my tent and the great view I woke up to. Nature is where I am my happiest. 

Some of the crew went for a swim to that little rocky island.

Classy campers: wine and home-made baguette which we dipped in that jar full of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs.

The crew playing poker with little rocks instead of money.

It's dinner time! So many tiny kitchens and cooks!

The next day we went back the same way we came. This was it, my friends. Hope to post more often from now on and hope you enjoyed this quick update.