The Summer of Adventure?!
After the amazing ski season I had, I was thinking maybe this would be the summer of adventure. In addition to our typical hiking and backpacking, I was thinking of crazier backpacking trips, climbing mountains, SUP (suggested to me by Maggie Moo - a great suggestion too!), etc., ... you know, adventure! Well, there was some adventure in there, but not like I had envisioned. As it would turn out, I had more adventure doing our normal summer hiking and backpacking than I anticipated. Who knew?!
It started out like last summer, mixing weekends up between hiking and backpacking. No big deal. We went to Young Lakes and Minaret Lake early in the season - both with a lot of illegal camping and morons (note: we were not the morons or the ones camping illegally). We had fun dealing with hail at Moonlight Lake, but loved seeing the clouds move all around the Evolution peaks (stunning)! We had to cancel our Bear Lakes Basin trip due to major storms over the July 4th holiday weekend, but what we did instead was just as much fun! Swimming in Upper (burrr) and Lower Lamarck Lakes with Moosie, riding an adaptive bike in the parade with DSES, pre-celebrating an engagement with Carlynn and Grady. Not too shabby. While it feels like there hasn't been as much backpacking as last summer, there has been more hiking mixed with other adventures (like SUP, Blues-a-palooza, etc). Adventure!
|Enjoying the views on the way to the summit of Mt Dana!|
|Moonlight Lake between rounds of hail. |
Seeing Darwin again for the first time in years brought tears to my eyes.
The Return to Evolution
Evolution. It has eluded me since the summer before breaking my back. It's the one place that I've been yearning to return to since the accident, even more than Precipice Lake. It's haunted me for the past two and a half years. I set goals the past two summers about returning to Evolution - or at least setting eyes on it again. I failed at reaching those goals. With the lack of backpacking we'd done this summer, I was starting to wonder if Evolution would elude me for yet another summer. We were about to find out...
I knew what was coming on this trip. I knew what was going to happen in Evolution Basin. That 'pressure' made this trip even more important. I needed to make it to Evolution this year - for myself most importantly, but also for what Dave had in store. I knew there was a ring - we gave it to Maggie Moo and Jim to keep safe for us while in the backcountry. I knew there was an adventure ahead of us, and I was ready to embrace it (version 1.4 or so of our original plans).
Note: I'm going to let the photos do the story telling. I'm taking a different spin on this post since words can't explain what it meant to me to be back in Evolution again. Yes, I shed tears at the sight of Darwin and Mendel from Lamarck Col. Yes, I shed even more tears of joy as I set my eyes on Evolution Lake, Sapphire Lake, and all of Evolution Basin again. Did I mention that Evolution has always held a special place in my heart? It's extra special now...
|Darwin and Mendel from Lamarck Col. Tears of joy were shed.|
|Hmmm. Apparently we failed to pay attention to the potential for smoke. Smoke from the Rough Fire would be with every day on this trip. Not ideal, but I WAS BACK IN EVOLUTION!|
|Darwin Canyon is absolutely stunning. The lakes are beautiful shades of blue that even the smoke couldn't mask. At least the smoke was clearing a bit.|
|Home, sweet home. Darwin Bench is amazingly green and lush. A great place to end the day - 8+ miles, lots of elevation gain/loss, miles of smiles.|
|Evolution Lake. It'd been 3+ years since I'd been here. I still can't find the words to adequately express what it meant to return to this amazing place after the ups and downs of the past 2.5 years of being bionic.|
|Sapphire Lake. I could sit here for weeks and just soak it all in. Hands down my favorite lake in all of the Sierra. Sorry, Precipice... #sorrynotsorry|
|The smoke started to drift in as we approached Wanda Lake. Black Giant, Muir Pass and the Goddard Divide are still stunning, even when smoke dances around them. Goddard would wait for another trip...|
|Proof that we made it to Muir Hut. It was so good to be back here. So many memories.|
|What a difference a few hours makes. Heading back down toward Evolution Lake from Muir Pass. The smoke made it seem like we were in a whole different world. Mind blowing how quickly it changed...|
|Sapphire Lake is still stunning, regardless of the conditions. There's something about this lake and Mt Huxley that I just absolutely love. Stunning.|
|Smokey sunset at Evolution Lake. An amazing day on so many levels. 15+ miles, lots of memories.|
|A bluebird morning at Evolution Lake. No complaints.|
|Well, we knew the smoke would be back. At least it waited until we were out of Evolution Valley. This was the view before we started the switchbacks down to the junction with Goddard Canyon. A lot of elevation loss in a short distance!|
|Maggie and I recreating the Evolution Lake photo with the real ring. She delivered the pretty blue box to Dave and he proposed again in front of friends and complete strangers. Oh, and he turned bright red too. Such fun!|
More photos here: The Evolution of a Proposal