Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bishop Pass

We survived our craziest llama/child adventure ever this week as we hiked over Bishop Pass down to LeConte Canyon and back the next day. The 24-mile trek is steep, rocky and difficult — and that's without three llamas and a 5-year-old.

On the top of the 12,000-foot mountain pass, the sky was dark, thunder roared and hail pelted us. Here's Ediza covered in a tarp after we weathered the storm. She's quite the trooper!

We ended up arriving in the canyon at dusk to resupply our friends who are hiking the John Muir Trail. The three girls hiking the JMT go to (or recently graduated from) Ediza's school. We then hiked up to our campsite in the dark. 

Here's Amber and Ediza dancing on a bridge on our way back up to the pass. Once we were up and over the celebration stopped as one of the llamas, Tenario, decided he was officially done walking. Instead of returning as we had planned, we had to camp an extra night in the cold, howling wind. 

Ediza took this picture of the view from our sleeping bags (of course we had no tent and are getting very low on food at this point). The next day we went into survival mode as we were physically and emotionally exhausted. Tenario would only walk a couple of steps before sitting down again. It took us most of the day to hike less than four miles and get him out of there.

There was a party in the parking lot as Tenario approached with an entourage of people feeding him produce and singing to him. At one point, someone even performed Reiki on him as he sat on the trail. Tenario is now at home and officially retired!

Challenges make us stronger and we are grateful that everyone — both people and llamas — made it out safely. For motivation and inspiration, I kept thinking of this famous Helen Keller quote: "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back to Lake Ediza

We just returned from our sixth annual trip to Ediza's namesake, Lake Ediza. The trip started by heading over to the eastern Sierra and staying at our favorite hot spring on the 4th of July. Magic always seems to happen there and this trip was no different. As we got in our sleeping bags, we watched a giant orange moon start to rise on the horizon of the pitch-black desert. Soon after, colorful fireworks started exploding in the distance (at Crowley Lake). We climbed up on a little plateau behind us — watching the moon rise to our left while a fireworks display dazzled to the right.

In the morning, I got up to take an early-morning dip in the hot tub and, just as I've seen there before, a rainbow-colored hot air balloon was taking off into the clear blue sky. Not a bad way to start the day!

Once we got packed up and got our permit in Mammoth Lakes, we hit the trail to Lake Ediza. This time we took llamas Golden (the pro) and Nash (the rookie). Ediza, who rode Golden most of the trip, hopped off him once we arrived at "her" lake.

The next day I went for a quick run up to Iceberg Lake, just up from where we camp near the Minarets. Later, we headed down to Lake Ediza to play in the water.

We then went back to camp, where Ediza took Golden up on some large boulders. 

This is what it looked like from their perspective....

Here's some pics that Ediza (who happens to be an aspiring photographer) took of the "fairy house" that she built near our camp.