All Hail the Sierra Storm!

August 1, 2015

I put myself on rest mode today. The John Frames took off up the road for Bennettville–old mining settlement just beyond the Tioga gate–and hiked a few miles up the lake-dotted canyon behind it…and had a great acclimation day. They said they really loved the area and were thankful for the suggestion (we’d gone there last year).

Jim and Peter took off for a long hike with a leg of new territory (route described below).

I went here… the Dana Fork of the T, just a couple hundred yards from the cabin, if that.


… and basically plunked against that rock on the far left for part of the day and against the one on the far right for the other part.

My view of Lembert Dome (right peak) and points beyond:


Or, if I was looking up:


But mostly I read, or did this:


Just be’d happy.

At the first drops, I bailed however (several hours later). Timed it quite well, I must say, because shortly after getting back to the cabin, it did this:


Shot through screen door, lest I get soaked. Of course you can’t see the rain and hail, but it was spectacular. The hail balls collected in every imaginable space (no pictures because I was just too mesmerized to move). The thunder was deafening and exciting.

I assumed everyone out on their respective trails was getting doused, but it turns out the storm was very localized. Like, very localized…just in the environs around the tent cabins and a bit into the meadow. Rivulets were everywhere throughout the camp; everything got deeply soaked and saturated. It was a very cool thing for thirsty, dry soil and brittle plants.

It lasted several hours.

And it was gloriously dramatic.

Peter and Jim came back while it was still happening, quite shocked, but they’d spent their day in warm sunshine and dryness. They started at the Cathedral Peak trailhead, hiked up to Cathedral pass (about 4 miles), traversed Long Meadow (virgin territory for them, about 3.5 miles), arrived at Sunrise High Sierra Camp and ate lunch, then hiked down to Tenaya Lake (another 5 miles).  Here are a few pictures Jim took:

Peter, at the pass, Cathedral Peak in background:


Here’s Peter hiking out ahead–the usual, he’s a very fast hiker.


And here’s Long Meadow:


Great days had by all.

Evening was a marathon of card games–many of which were violent–with all of us in the lodge. I’d forgotten how much I love Hearts (not one of the violent ones). We ate with a friendly but very obnoxious retired fellow from San Diego who was anxious about a nine day guided trip he was about to embark on the following day. Such are many of the HSC hikers–slightly older folks, but typically their hearts and mountain sensibilities are all in the right place.

Peter and I ended the night with yet another 3-game set of gin rummy… another ten hands in the record books. At this point, I am beginning to lag way behind. He is enjoying this immensely.

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