MOUNT WHITNEY & MOUNT RAINIER
Congratulations to Erika Napoletano, who successfully summitted both Mt. Whitney and Mt. Rainier this summer for charity!
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I spent the week of August 7th at a condo on the north shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe. For those of you who haven't been there, it is a spectacular area. The pristine lake, at about 6200', is surrounded by mountains on all sides. I decided to explore a small portion of these mountains.
Over the week I was there, I summitted seven peaks. I hiked just over 40 miles with an elevation gain of about 10,000'. Most of the hikes were fairly easy as the mountains up there are not too rugged and have well-traveled trails to most of the major peaks. I summitted Mt. Rose, Granite Chief, Emigrant Peak, Snow Valley Peak, Mt. Davidson, Mt. Lola, and Lola North. My 5-year-old son Toby, accompanied me on two of the peaks, but the rest were all solo climbs.
As I was planning this trip I was looking for a plan of peaks to hike. I decided to attack the highpoints of various counties in the area. I climbed the highpoints of three Nevada counties and the highpoints of three California counties. Now I have 7 of the 17 Nevada counties and 9 of the 58 California counties. I have a long way to go, but maybe someday!
The views from each summit were different, but without fail, spectacular. I saw plenty of wildlife including a half dozen deer (several very close), hundreds of chipmunks, and a bobcat! The temperatures were comfortable for hiking with highs at the lake around 70 (even cooler up in the mountains). I even encountered very small snow patches on several of the hikes.
I can't wait to do some more hiking in the Tahoe area next summer!
Four brave hikers (and one rider via the "Daddy-horse") set out Saturday, August 25 to hike a mountain. Alas, only one summitted, wholly the fault of the fearless leader, Amy "Failed the Team" Brewster. Stephen Newell tolerated the entire Brewster clan of Joel, Amy, five-year-old Toby and the lone rider, one-year-old Sierra.
Many potential hiking compadres dropped out of this experience due to work, vacation, and waking-baby problems, so that left only Stephen and I planning to hike all the way to the peak. (We decided early that the short-legged person probably wouldn't make it all the way in a timely fashion.) I love this hike because the pines are beautiful and I have always seen many wild horses meandering along with me on the trail. Judging by the fresh droppings, horses were somewhere nearby, but we spotted them only from the car on this fine day. One horse abruptly stepped in front of our car, then sauntered by, checking out its reflection in our tinted windows. Sierra seemed sure it was looking in the window at her and didn't blink for the rest of the drive, glued to the window, hoping to spot another. Toby knew it was a girl horse, due to the long eyelashes, of course.
We spotted two adults and a baby horse in the desert driving back. (Well, the horses weren't actually driving, but you get the picture.) So the reputation of wild horses at Bonanza lives on. Just not while hiking. Because none of us brought a camera (!!), here is what they may have looked like. But you'll never know.
So, Stephen was given some sort of haphazard instructions on how to turn off the trail at the end to get to the peak. Unfortunately the key word I used was "cairn" and that's what did him in. I met him coming down on the trail about 5 minutes after he left a trailside cairn. When he told me that he followed two cairns and ended up in a place that didn't really seem like a peak, I got a little worried. "Did you see a peak register?" I asked. The answer was negative and I realized that he probably hadn't summitted. My one charge who planned to summit and I had failed him. I plan to take some coaching from Alan Andrunas and Chris Ransel. If they can get their entire team up Mt. Rainier, how could I fail to get one man up Bonanza Peak?
Sadly, my fears were realized when I followed Stephen's two cairns and did a short class 3 move up a rocky outcropping. Funny, I don't remember any class 3 moves on the way to Bonanza Peak? When I got to the top, I spotted Bonanza Peak a short distance away. It looked pretty much like this, except much closer:
I huffed and puffed to the peak, found the register, realized Joel had my pen and there were no working pens at the top, left an LVMC business card and went on my merry way. On the way down, while attempting to contact Joel on a very weakly-transmitting radio, I heard many clear transmissions of a boat race. What, you say? A boat race? When I told Joel, he was so skeptical, you might even say he didn't believe it was possible. As I looked at desert, Pahrump, more desert, the small, dry town of Cold Creek and more desert, I wondered who was having a boat race. Hmm. Couldn't find anything online to explain it but I have talked to people in Baker, California, from the top of Mt. Charleston. Somehow I picked up a boat race. (And I know what you're thinking: not in my fillings!)
On the way down I met up with Joel and the kids munching
on fruit at the saddle. Toby celebrated the last weekend before starting
kindergarten by doing his longest hike to date (8 miles roundtrip, 2200'
elevation gain to the saddle). Yay Toby! Toby and I amused ourselves
on the way down discussing the differences between lightning and thunder
as we heard many dramatic rumblings, especially as we neared the car.
(Whew, thank goodness, the car!) Never once did I let on to my small
boy that I feared we could be killed, or, worse yet, get wet. I always
try my best to keep my paranoia to myself. We just missed the rain as
dark clouds formed over the Spring Mountains and sprinkled on our car
as we drove out. Mummy Mountain definitely saw its share of rain as
we noticed it shrouded in wispy clouds on the drive home.
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