Ansel Adams Wilderness Part 5
We are camped at 11,400 feet. Snow clings to the north facing slopes from a recent storm, the first of the season. But the temperature is warm, and the breeze has died off, so we admire this grand scenery in perfect weather. This particular basin is called Dusy Basin. The hike to get here was over 7 miles of rough terrain requiring a climb up and over Bishop Pass. We have decided to spend the day here in this basin dotted with dozens of small turquoise lakes sparkling in the noonday sun. From this granite outcropping high above these lakes, I can count over 40 peaks, all of them above 12,000 feet in elevation. Large unbroken smoothly polished granite dominates the landscape. The pine trees are widely dispersed at this elevation allowing for immense unbroken views from just about any location.
Today there is not a cloud in the sky. The breeze, when it blows, brings with it suggestions of winter, hints of snow, and a slight coolness from the north. But it’s not winter yet. This is Indian Summer at its finest. Warm, clear, bug-free days, and crispy nights with temperatures dropping to about freezing. Our down bags keep us toasty warm at night. During the day all that is required is a fleece shirt. Never too hot, nor to cold, we can wander this alpine paradise at will, frequently resting on her polished domes of granite, warm from the brilliant sunshine. Gone are the crowds of summer, and in their place, golden brilliance of fall silence.
In every direction, I can see weeks of blissful exploration. But right now, sitting here on this bluff, just the knowing that it’s all out there is enough. I’m content with their simple existence. That is the point of these trips. Not exploring every canyon, or climbing every peak, but simply allowing them to be. Witnessing their existence. Verifying that such beauty really does exist. I must see it form myself. Breathe in the crisp mountain air. Walk upon her delicate tundra, and feast my eyes upon a beauty that is beyond comprehension. For within this level of beauty lies a commanding sacredness so overwhelming it stops me dead in my tracks, like a love struck teenager falling to his knees in lust and love over a high school beautyqueen. An infatuation dominating my very existence. And here I am. Overindulging myself. Bathing in her essence.
To know her is to become her. Submit to her. Be devoured her. Infusing my every pore with her beauty. I float back to camp drunk like a bee returning from a field of spring wildflowers.