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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Kearsarge Pass

USA | Saturday, 25 May 2013 | Views [1067]

Kearsarge Pass

Kearsarge Pass

Oh, California! How beautiful you are! With all my travels I haven't seen much of the state that I've called home most of my life, but here I am in the Eastern Sierras sitting by the fire. I reckon I must tell you about the Kearsarge Pass, but more importantly I must tell you about my dynamic duo of rideshare partners, Jamie and Heather. Jamie is a gorgeous blonde lass with a lovely, curvacious figure whom you'll never find too far from Tim McGraw or Toby Keith playing from her car stereo. Whilst Jamie has her great big smile and bubbly personality, Heather is slightly more serious yet just as beautiful and just as down for a good time. She's slightly wild-looking with her slightly messy brownish hair, and loves chatting about her recent near-summit trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro (which makes me jealous to the umph degree!). Heather appears absolutely perfect with her leopard shirt, going well with her wild hair! Jamie and Heather: polar opposites, but when it comes to fun, they stand side by side like the Equator and I'd not be too far away!

Myself, Heather, and Jamie

Anyways, I was up for some serious hiking this morning as I prepared my morning tea with my trusty billy and camping stove. Tea: check! Kashi and rice milk: check! Breakfast was tasty as Eduardo, our organizer, came around to find out who was going on the hike today. For lunch I packed a good amount of food: energy bars, banana, peanut butter sandwiches, Chia snacks, cherries, an orange, thermal full of tea, and water bottle. Better to have too much food than too little! And I've been trying to share as much as possible. 

I'll be honest with you, on some of my previous Meetup trips I've had some social issues but I felt like on this trip there would be no such drama. "There is no margin for error" I told myself, and that means being my best in whatever way possible. That means: helping set up tents, sharing food, lifting heavy stuff (especially with Jamie having a bad back), getting the campfire going, or whatever I can do to help. The most important thing I had to work on was talking less and being chill. Whilst others sat around the campfire I was completely content with being relaxed whilst others chatted. Being my social best, it was also time to be my physical best...

At the carpark we made our way toward the Kearsarge Pass. At an elevation of 9,200 ft. we were ready for a gain of more than 2,500 ft. There were five lakes we'd pass and I decided I'd be in silence for part of the trek. The Sierra Nevada (simply known as "The Sierras" to Californians) is one of the most extraordinary mountain ranges in the world. The highest point in the conterminous USA (Mt. Whitney) is here and the relief is very high with the San Joaquin Valley to the west and Death Valley (the lowest point in North America) to the east. Shortly after the start of the hike Susan asks me "Have you been to Ethiopia?" not realizing I was wearing the jersey of the Ethiopian national team.

Upon reaching the second lake toward the pass, I felt that along with being my social and physical best, I must be at my inner best...

I never though I could perform yoga this extraordinary! 

Some people lagged behind and others got altitude sickness, yet I marched on undeterred. Today's hike was easy for me! Another unparalleled view I had at the third lake. 

Above the tree line I walked, and the fourth lake greeted us (those who made it this far) in its frozen solid state. Too bad I didn't bring my ice skates.

We were warned about the possibility of snow at the pass but the only snow gave us a fabulous view and wasn't on the trail, so I managed to keep my decrepit hiking boots dry. Toward the pass it was almost like a race; I stayed on the trail whilst others veered off and tried climbing up yet I ran rebelliously so I could be the first, victoriously and triumphantly, at the pass! And at 11,760 ft., what a panorama it is! The view to the west is drastically different to the view to the east; the rain shadow is prominent with much more greenery to the west. 

Feasting on my lunch I sat peacefully, inhaling the fresh mountain air. My tea was still hot in my vacuum-packed thermal mug; hot tea with a view! My itchy feet then got the best of me as I gazed at a unique rock several dozen metres away, and I had to climb it somehow. My daring self got up there.

As everyone started to file in at the pass I lay there peacefully, falling asleep momentarily. As I made my way back down I was up for more yoga, and as I made my way back to the carpark I ran into a familiar face. Delia was my rideshare partner when I went to Baja California last year. As I mentioned she's a somewhat serious Texan who's not afraid to have a good time and be her adventurous self, even when 20 years my senior. 

Only slightly sore after today's slightly strenuous hike, Jamie, Heather, and I stopped at the store for ice, wine, and firewood. The nearest store is only a few miles away so it's possible to camp for an extended period and not have to bring loads of food. It was 20 degrees hotter in Independence than at Onion Valley or at the campsite, and the girls were having a "birdbath" in the bathroom whilst the ice started melting all over the asphalt. As I sipped a hot cuppa I was prepared to cook up some spaghetti when Jamie proclaimed "we have plenty of food, we'll make you something if you be our dishwasher and trash boy." She BBQ'd some turkey burgers and made some salad and the campfire was roaring (though my tent wasn't too far away, so I had to watch the embers).

Turkey burgers and my tent

Everyone joined the three of us at our site after a fabulous hike today, and washing down my tasty dinner with a few glasses of wine I chatted to Delia. Tonight I was quiet and enjoying it. In Mexico I was loud and boisterous but I felt like tonight everyone else should be loud and boisterous whilst I remained chill, peaceful, and in awe of a full moon that lit up the night sky like a sun! Eduardo brought out marshmallows (ugh!), mozzarella sticks (slightly better), and his homemade hot cocoa (mmmm, tasty!) with Bailey's (optional). My tired self had a mozzarella stick and a few cups of Bailey's-less hot cocoa as I was drifting in and out of sleep in my broken chair. I love these kind of trips, and Meetup has really opened up my options as far as American travel goes! I wouldn't take a Meetup trip overseas but they're extremely helpful to visit places close to home since I don't have a car. So far this journey has been fantastic! 

Damn, I'm up for the Kearsarge Pass again! 

 

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