Monday, July 23, 2018

Into the woods

Last week, as the 11 regular readers of this blog know, I was missing in action.

Lost, gleefully, in the majestic woods of the Eastern Sierras. Where we hunkered down beneath the mighty Twin Pines of Upper Grey's Meadow and settled in along the roaring, snow melted and trout-stocked waters of the Independence Creek.

Without the purple prose, we backed the Acura MDX into Campsite #12.

Before I get to my accounting of the trip, I need to address what I feel is the bobcat in the room. Because even though we are currently separated by miles I can hear the collective harumphing of Roundseventeen readers...

"Wait a minute, Jews don't camp."

To which I'd like to point out, we were the original campers.

Let us read from Exodus 3:19, "And the Lord freed them from their bondage and commanded them to leave Egypt in haste. And venture forth into the desert. Where they had no Coleman lanterns, bug spray or self inflating mattress pads."

Moreover, those Jews didn't camp for a week or even two, they roamed the Sinai Peninsula for 40 god damned years. And I'm sure they did it without ever complaining.

This year's trip, our 15th in the last 16 years, was special. Not only for what it was, but for what it wasn't. You see we had little or no telephone service up in the hills. And so, for 5 glorious days we went without news of Precedent Shitgibbon and his botched exercise in Diplomacy 101.

The escape from the escapades of Captain Fuckknuckle was sorely needed. And I am happy to say I have returned fully invigorated. Ready to redouble my efforts in the fight against this Fascist regime.

Also of note, we, my wife, myself and the two couples we camp with, did something we had never done before.

If you were to get out your topographic map of the Upper Grey's Meadow Campground you'd see there's a huge ridge just on the other side of the creek. For years we had always wondered what's on the other side. But since it stands 500 feet, for the purposes of this story, let's make that 1500 feet of vertical height above the campground, we had never sacked up and made the ascent. This year we did.

This ridge is without shade. It's a hardscrabble hill of sunbaked clay, rocks and brittle high dessert shrubbery. It's thorny. It's hot. It's literally crawling with rattlesnakes. But it was hardly enough to stop this group of hardy 44 year olds.

We scrambled left.
We scrambled right.
We navigated ravines, loose gravel and the constant thinning of oxygen at 8,000 feet above sea level that had our hearts beating faster than a rutting gerbil. Nothing was going to stand in the way of us planting our imaginary flag at the top of that summit.

And nothing did.

Except when we huffed and puffed our last breath and drank the last bit of water and finally ascended what seemed un-ascendable, we discovered there was a fire road leading to the top.

Getting back down was significantly easier.

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