1. Swallows flying in and out of their nests. They had completely colonized the underside of a bridge on the Kern river in the South Sierra Wilderness.
2. Hikers relax in the grass and snack on a sunny day. Notice the large cylindrical containers: BearVault bear proof food canisters, a requirement for the 300 mile stretch from Kennedy Meadows to South Lake Tahoe.
3. Setting up at camp one night with some trail buddies. Another great thing about the Sierras- plenty of beautiful campsites. Take your pick.
4. Pine cones hang form a branch.
5. These swirling evergreens were an interesting fixture of the Southern Sierras.
6. The setting sun casts shadows on the wall of our tent.
7. A Pacific Crest Trail marker is consumed by its tree.
8. A group of does graze at Crabtree Meadow, a popular camping spot for thruhikers looking to take the next day summiting Mount Whitney.
9. Our tent set up at Crabtree Meadow, overlooking the stream, lawn and rocky mountains.
10. A typical Sierra sunset.
11. Timberline Lake en route to Mount Whitney, closed to camping for restoration, shimmers in the morning sunlight.
12. Mandatory outdoor jumping photo at Guitar Lake.
13. Alpine lakes, a characteristic feature of the Southern Sierras, vary in size and shade of blue.
14. Indiana takes a break to admire the vast, rocky view on the way to Mount Whitney.
15. Posing at the top of Mount Whitney. To my credit, the guy who volunteered to take our photo didn’t really line up his ‘Say cheese!’ countdown with when he actually took the photo. Indiana said it looked like I was taking an unfortunate poop. Whater. Look at his hair.
16. Guitar Lake, also a popular camping spot for summiting Mount Whitney, as seen from above. Personally, I’d say it’s more of a cello.
17. Guitar Lake from the trail. Chunks taking a moment to admire the afternoon view.
18. A chipmunk pauses from nibbling as we approach.
19. A stretch of open prairie, with peaks and an alpine lake.
20. Chunks pausing from climbing Forrester Pass, the highest point on the PCT, to take in the view of the lake below.
21. Almost to the top of Forrester Pass, looking triumphant.
22. A small snow melt lake, completely clear and crystal blue, on the other side of Forrester Pass. No wonder the water up there tastes so good.
23. A rare grove of tall trees along the trail in the valley after Forrester Pass.
24. A cluster of bright but dainty wild flowers.
25. Two backpackers walk single file with two pack donkeys. The one on the left may have been new, she was adorably apprehensive about wading through the small stream behind them.
26. A mother and baby grouse find a nice patch of dirt for a bath.
27. A misty mountain.
28. Chunks in matchies with a grove of ferns.
29. Tiny plants photosynthesize big oxygen bubbles in a snow melt stream.
30. A typical view as you head up to a pass: tall mountains and lush green meadows.
31. Don’t forget to turn around when you hike. If you don’t you could miss great views, like this one.
32. A well placed natural rock formation.
33. Dainty grasses coming to seed in the meadow.
34. Tiny plants colonize the rocky soil.
35. Making our way down the steep but amazingly beautiful Golden Staircase.
36. Water tumbles down the falls out of Palisade Lake.
37. The trail on a sunny afternoon.
38. A lush Sierra meadow. Not pictured: mosquitos.
39. Piny bushes grow straight out of a large boulder.
40. Heading up to the Muir hut on Muir Pass, both named for John Muir, an monumentally important figure in Yosemite and the Sierras.
41. Clouds roll in over peaks and alpine lakes.
42. A rocky waterfall.
43. Pausing in a field of wild flowers.
44. The Devil’s Post Pile, a million year old basaltic rock formation, just outside of Reds Meadow. Pressurized basaltic rock formed into tall hexogonal stalks.
45. Layers of mountain range outside of Reds Meadow.
46. A storm brews over the valley leading to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. These clouds brought tons of rain, loud thunder, hail and a significant drop in temperature. Fun!