John and I just got back from our California travel, exploring Yosemite Valley and Mount Shasta. This summer's experience added another perspective to our evolving mountaineering experiences.
Yosemite, Sierra Nevada
Hiking up is more
awesome. The valley has many interesting up and down landscapes. We
decided to explore the not much visited parts of the valley, North Dome and Indian Rock,
passing through snow Creek. After a long backcountry long hike, we camped overnight
in between the two. Our camping ground was the right choice. The tent was
facing opposite Half Dome and a few more steps to the right, North Dome and El Capitan
were visible. We had a first class view of the whole valley! I always looked
around to see bears and perhaps have a chance to take their pictures. Unfortunately,
we didn't see one. In between our hikes, we paused many times for photographs and
enjoyed the beautiful sceneries. I guess we did about a 19-20-mile loop. On the way
down, we passed by other wooded and rocky trails. The Yosemite Falls section, even without
the water, still offered a spectacular view with it's high rising boulder. As we
were half way down, others hikers also passed our way My husband became a
"consulting" person; hikers on their way up asked him about the distance to the
top. About 4 or miles before reaching down, there are varied trails that
people can choose to hike up and still have incredible views. Yosemite
is really a spectacular destination for all. When our time permits, I would like to
go back to hike other sections of the valley. (Update:our second
trip to the valley)
Shasta, Cascade Range, Northern California
Mount Shasta is a volcano in Northern California outside of Mt. Shasta City. Summit passes are required for anyone climbing above 10,000 feet, and ascents to the mountain is year round. Just recently, I made a valiant attempt to join my husband on a four-day glacier seminar in Mount Shasta. The class included a training in crevasse rescue, rope climbing, self arrest, and protection using appropriate anchor devices, under the guidance of two experienced mountaineers; two other people completed the team. Friendly group, they are like the "cool" and the "right on" group, often hearing the expressions from them.
The Mount Shasta trip was a big challenge and a humbling experience. Part of the seminar must involve good teamwork. One has to be aware of certain rules like coordinating time with the team members, waking up really early in the morning and getting things organized fast in time for each day's activity. It also goes that one must succumb patiently to the mountain's landscape- rock, ice, and glaciers.
When ascending and descending on rocks, everyone in the team must be on rope attached to the harness. Wearing a helmet is a must and having a warm hat under helps when it can get really cold.