Friday, August 21, 2009

Our return to Lake Ediza

We recently returned from our third annual family hike to Lake Ediza, a hidden gem in California's eastern Sierra Nevada.

Ediza, who turns three in October, has also been to her namesake when she was 8 months old and 21 months old. Just as we've done the past two summers, we headed over Sonora Pass with three llamas. The beasts of burden make it possible for us to backpack with a toddler. I carry Ediza on my back while the llamas carry everything else.

Our first night was spent at Shepherds Hot Spring in the high-elevation desert. There, a late-night reveler climbed on a rock and preached a drunken sermon to us as if we were his congregation. Thankfully, once Ediza finally passes out she can sleep through just about anything. Amber and I were not so fortunate.

In the morning, a hot-air balloon took to the air right in front of us. Here's a pic of two of the llamas below the rising balloon.

Shortly after this we hit the trail to Lake Ediza, tucked away in the rugged mountains near Mammoth Lakes. After days of planning, enduring a sleepless night and hiking in the hot afternoon sun we finally arrive at our destination -- Lake Ediza.

The picturesque lake can be found deep in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest. We were lucky enough to spend three days/two nights at this magical place.

When Amber was pregnant and we were coming up with potential baby names, we were both drawn to Ediza as it sounds exotic and, like the lake, is very beautiful. About a year after our daughter was born, I began to research who the lake was named after.

I asked people, read guidebooks, researched Basque immigrants, even enlisted the help of a retired forest historian. She used her vast contacts ranging from Inyo National Forest employees to a U.S. Geological Survey cartographer in Colorado. Still nothing.

Just like the lake's deep blue waters, I guess some things are better left a mystery.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


The other day I hiked Half Dome with my friends Dominique (a former coworker who now helps put on professional tennis tournaments all over the world) and Chris (a longtime reporter/columnist at our local newspaper). Despite the crowds, Half Dome continues to be the ultimate day hike -- climbing up two waterfalls, winding through the forest, the climax of the cables. It's always such a thrill.

Well, it seems as if I'm always writing about or posting photos of Yosemite so here's some of what else we've been up to.

Amber has had quite a successful llama shearing business this spring and summer. She just sheared two more yesterday. And she's reaping the benefits of all her hard work in her garden. It's amazing how much better home-grown produce tastes than what you'd buy at the grocery store.

Ediza continues to keep us busy with her nonstop energy. The only time we can really get her to nap is in her car seat. Ediza is now completely potty trained and she's excited about starting preschool in a few weeks.

As for me, I just started a three-month gig at the newspaper I used to work for here. I only work three days this coming week because the other half will be spent on our annual llama-packing trip to Lake Ediza. Photos from that trek will be posted soon.