The Perseid Surprise

Published: August 16th 2006EDIT THIS ENTRY

This was an overnight, solo trip to 8000 feet deep into the heart of the Sierra Nevadas. I tried to invite people, but nobody wanted to come! I knew it was going to be a long weekend with lots of driving and hiking. But I also knew I would get to spend a day and night in the wilderness enjoying the biggest meteor shower of the year. I brought food I didn't have to cook. I brought only a sleeping bag and mat. I only said a few words in 24 hours to the 3 passing hikers I saw on trail. Backpacking solo is relaxing and centering, it gives you the peace of mind to notice every little thing around you. Its silent and serene!

The Perseids Meteor Shower was incredible, I saw over 60 in the 2 hours before moonrise. I camped on a rocky hill with grass and strange alpine plants on the rim of the deep, glaciated gorge. The dramatic elevation difference between the peaks and the bottom of the canyon was spectacular. The sapphire river roared far away, silence ruled and the birds were scarce. The south facing hill held sunshine in the rocks, keeping me
My campMy campMy camp

Really, camp was just my sleeping bag and pad.
warm all night long in nothing but a sleeping bag and pad. The wildflowers in the frequent meadows were in full bloom, I saw over 20 different kinds of flowers and have no idea what all their names are.

The forest was spectacular, alternating between Ponderosa Pine, White Pine, Red Fir and Juniper. Turns out a large river actually cut a gorge and it had hundreds of pools deep enough for swimming- a perfect cold water dip was the perfect way to clean up and cool off after the trip on the way back to the car.

Additional photos below
Photos: 43, Displayed: 23


Contorted LogContorted Log
Contorted Log

This area gets heavy, heavy snowfall in winter. Evidence for this is everywhere...
Lilly Pad PondLilly Pad Pond
Lilly Pad Pond

on the dirt road 2 miles from the Isberg Trailhead
Red Fir ForestRed Fir Forest
Red Fir Forest

The unmistakeable Red Fir Forest! It smells delicious, and the Red Fir's grow in thick stands drowing out all other competitors. The Bark is enchanting...

Springtime was in full bloom at this altitude in the meadows. It also means the mosquitos are in full force as well!
Cedar and GraniteCedar and Granite
Cedar and Granite

The bark of the Cedar is even more red and beautiful than the Red Fir!
Corn LilysCorn Lilys
Corn Lilys

These meadow plants grow fast and furious in thick bunches, only to die back yellow a month or two later as fall comes.
Cedar ViewsCedar Views
Cedar Views

The views of the true high country of the Sierra Nevada(over 13,000 feet) started to open up.

Meadow after meadow provided quite a show!
Light and ShadowLight and Shadow
Light and Shadow

The light scattered all over the forest floor, illuminating trees and flowers at random...
Dead End TrailDead End Trail
Dead End Trail

The trails in the Sierra NF are maintained, but yearly tree falls frequently cause one to go around! Here a Red Fir lets us know not all trees are destined to grow tall.
Meadow and StreamMeadow and Stream
Meadow and Stream

I passed about 5 streams on the way to my campsite, here one was showcased with sunlight...

Swimmin' hole! Fantastically refreshing, and not cold once you get in...

The trees naturally grow into Bonsai shapes in through here.
My Campsite-Sleeping bag next to Tree!My Campsite-Sleeping bag next to Tree!
My Campsite-Sleeping bag next to Tree!

Taken from the mountain above camp... a fantastic site- No bugs, warmth from the rocks, slight wind, a tree for shade, flat surfaces and rocky chairs perfect for reclining!

17th August 2006

Awesome photos, Amazing trip!
Love it! Great photos!!!
29th August 2006

The photos are amazing, wow. I just wish I could hike and I'd go with least I can see it through your lens. Your descriptions are a good guide. Thanks for the wonderful trip. you are a great guide.
28th October 2006

What a beautiful view. Absollutely gorgeous
1st November 2006

Your photos are the best motivation there is...
living in the San Joaquin Valley I am only too familiar with the area. Have been in and around the area many times in years gone by. In my garage hangs my dorment back pack, packed and ready when I am. Just have to get back in shape and in the groove to do it again.
28th February 2007

Me gusta mi iPod
Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
11th March 2008

Beautiful Pics
I love those pics. I usually do the northern sierra's but those show that the southern sierra's are a paradise.
27th August 2008

surprise saddle
One of the best views in that area. I've stopped there to rest for decades on my way to the headwaters of the North fork which is another dimension completely. Thanks for sharing.

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