Tuesday, May 13, 2014

California Wilderness: Coyotes and Snow

This morning I woke up to the sound of coyotes howling. As someone who usually wakes at noon or later, the coyotes and the morning sun are such welcome alarms. I make my breakfast by the fire, preparing for today's hike adventure. We pass the coyotes' tracks, as well as those of rabbits and a mountain lion. Eyes out for rattlesnakes, too. It snowed last night. It was beautiful, fallen old trees layered in snow in the morning light. 

As we hike further, we climb higher. The air is clean and sharp, and I collect some snow in my hands. I keep collecting and eating the snow all day, barely needing my water. At the peak of the granite slab, I can see why this place is called Domeland. Indomitable, beautiful mountain rock faces surround us. I call back down to the others, and my voice echoes all around.

This place probably sees less than one hundred pairs of human feet per year, it feels so untouched. I know where camp is, and I take off down first one wash, then the next. Bouldering is my favorite, and I can choose whichever path I like. I finally reach the river, and leisurely make my way home, crossing fallen logs and the sturdier beaver dams on a whim.

This was part of a single day only, and there's still over a month left. I could stay like this indefinitely.

Sierra Institute has been many things for me. I've made such good friends, even in this short time. I've been building better habits and teaching myself guitar, a bit every day. We've found arrowheads, built structures of our own, slept under the stars; I cannot summarize. I signed up knowing this would be a unique experience, and it has been, it is; but in so many great ways I could not have predicted.

-Sam Clevenger

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