Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 15 - Sky Height

Moving towards the sun before it rises, over the Central Valley, up

the Canyons of the North,



North-Fork-of-the-Middle Fork American River, past Deadwood and

Balloon Ridges,


French Meadows Reservoir, near the upper

Middle Fork American Canyon,


beyond to

Talbot Camp (jumping with more activity than seen heretofore in these parts) for the final full dayhike of the summer, to

Picayune Pass (the same destination as last week's jaunt via other direction from the Five Lakes Trailhead).

This time the

way begins as a classic

"old woods road" through what remains of

French Meadows -- this upper open drainage not drowned by a damming water barrier.

East, then

south, into the

greater Picayune Valley (oxymoron, indeed), crossing the energetic creek that is the upper Middle Fork American, followed by



uplands (views opening to the goal south [the pass is at left, three pictures up] and the canyon north, with

Marion Ridge west and

Granite Chief and associated prominences east),

alternating with


flower wildernesses (note the clarity of the trail and the stately



montane chaparral,

a rock shelter, and at last the

upper valley (perhaps its compactness meriting the nomenclature) -- up, up to vistas of

Heavens Gate (the notch above center), Marion Peak (to the left),

Ridge snow, and



Pass is as spectacular as last week, and safer,

with virtually clear skies (just a little cumuli Nevadawise), and a

360 panorama from the terminal



mossy return back into the

Valley seems a bit easier than previous ones (the gradient has been simply lower to higher, rather than an altitudinal roller coaster), and driving back is a farewell to Mosquito Ridge Road, the scene of so many journeys in the past few years. Home for two more Animal Farm videos

(XVII. Platypusses and

XVIII. Kangaroos) and a check-in with Harriet. Tomorrow is the first day of the fall semester.