Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

Ansel Adams Wilderness ~ 2021

John Muir got it right when he said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

I spent a glorious 9 days backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, making up for lost time with Mother Nature in 2020. John Muir called this the Range of Light, for good reason. This range takes work and effort to get to, the views are hard-earned but well worth it. Disconnecting from the daily rat race and technology is so good for the soul, and this is the perfect place to hit the “reset” button, to get off the hamster wheel and back to basics.

We spent 4 days at Ediza Lake and 5 days at Garnet Lake, deciding to skip Thousand Island Lake after an extreme storm on day 7. We planned this trip purposely to rest, relax, restore, and not rack up big miles. It was more about the view and enjoying our time fully, and less about distance.

I began at 5:30 am from Agnew Meadows, just under 8 miles to the campsite at Ediza Lake. Up up up past Shadow Lake, crossed a creek washout by hopping on logs and rocks. Wobbly legs with a 42-pound backpack – again worth it for the blue waters of this lake and views of the Minarets and Banner and Ritter Peaks above.

Weather was perfect during our time at Ediza Lake, lazy days swimming, exploring, reading, and hiking up to the base of the Minarets where a beautiful hidden tarn made me feel like I was on top of the world. Ediza Lake is smaller, not as vast as others in the area, but that also makes it more intimate and easy to explore the surrounding area.

On day 5 I headed back down the trail to the JMT (John Muir Trail) junction and up and over to Garnet Lake, another incredible gem in this wilderness area. It was a shorter day, but hot and a long climb up before heading down the switchbacks to Garnet, then around to the opposite shore for camping.

There are several peninsulas that jut out into Garnet Lake, perfect for a morning cuppa tea and doing nothing but sitting on a rock and enjoying the view. Mother Nature is the best movie theater!!

On day 7 we knew a storm was coming in, and it was one of the worst I’ve ever been in. Rain. Thunder. Lightening. Wind. Hail. Tents were in danger of flooding and we knew we needed to dig trenches around them to direct water away. It rained and hailed several inches over a few hours. After being soaked trying to keep water away from my tent, I ended up with what was probably a mild case of hypothermia, but I was able to crawl into my down jacket and down sleeping bag (totally dry – thanks to my amazing Nemo tent!!!!) and warm myself up by drinking hot tea. Three weather systems came through that day, Mother Nature sure does know how to put on a light show!

The day after the storm was beautiful, I spent the day wandering the lake shore and peninsulas near camp, being very lazy, still exhausted from the day before. We loved the solitude and quiet, but later that day a group of 11 people were dropped off by mule train and, though they were very quiet and polite, it killed the vibe of being in solitude and alone in the wilderness.

We chose to hike out the following day, feeling revitalized, challenged, restored, empowered, and tired out all at the same time. It was a 9.5 mile hike back to the trailhead, my legs felt like Jello by the time I got back. Mixed emotions of being so grateful for the experience, exhausted, happy to be heading home, and sad about leaving so much beauty all at the same time.

~~~ Thank you to S & S for sharing such an incredible experience with me.

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