Tuesday, July 29, 2008
We wrapped up our around-the-world odyssey with a backpacking trip to the lake we named Ediza after -- Lake Ediza.
On Friday we got our backcountry permit in Mammoth Lakes and then spent the afternoon at a park on Mono Lake. It was there we met a group of tourists visiting from Paris. You should have seen the look on their faces when Ediza told them "au revoir" -- French for goodbye -- as they left. Further proof that it's a small world, at this remote park we met a family from Washington D.C. The son wore a Baltimore Orioles baseball cap and the mom went to the same college as me.
That night we were met by Amber's little brother, Bruce, her sister, Andrea, and Andrea's boyfriend, Russell. We camped at hot springs in the high-elevation desert near Mammoth. There, Ediza climbed on this boulder wearing her cool dude sunglasses from Queenstown, New Zealand.
The next morning we got packed up and drove to the trailhead. We took three llamas with us to help carry the gear (although I think I got the heaviest load of all -- Ediza). Once we hit the trail, we eventually climbed up these steps (though merely a fraction of those on the Great Wall of China).
Then we (llamas included) crossed rivers.
Finally, we made it to Ediza's picturesque lake high in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest.
On Sunday we had a picnic along the lake's shore and we all took a dip in the freezing yet refreshing snowmelt water.
This was Ediza's second visit to her lake. Amber and I took her last summer when she was just eight months old. She sure has grown a lot since then.
On the hike we took our llama Golden (above with Ediza), his father, Puytu, and the unstoppable Tenario.
Three years ago Puytu and Tenario hiked with Amber and I on the John Muir Trail, which spans more than 200 miles from Yosemite National Park down to Mount Whitney.
Yesterday, on our last morning, Amber cooked up some pancakes with Lake Ediza in the background.
Of all the beautiful places we've visited on our epic adventure, Lake Ediza is right there at the top of the list.
The clear blue skies (other than the occasional smoke from nearby wildfires) provided the perfect backdrop for the rugged Minarets. The only thing that would interrupt the flawless sky was an airplane flying by here and there. I wondered what they were doing up there, where they were going.
Once we hiked out of the backcountry, Russell learned that his family was evacuated and his home almost burned down due to a wildfire raging between Mariposa and Yosemite.
As they rushed home, we drove up over mountainous Sonora Pass, known for its steep and narrow roadway. As I drove, Amber was vomiting her dinner in the back and Ediza screamed from her car seat. Way to go out with a bang!
Here's a self-timed group shot of us on our last night at Lake Ediza. I'm holding a bag of dehydrated smores. Yum.
By the way, some people have asked about the continuation of the blog, and we've decided we'll still post from time to time as we find it's the best way of staying in touch with everybody:)