Monday, September 21, 2009

We are currently in Carson City for resupply after 12 days at Robinson Creek. Near Bridgeport, Robinson Creek is a spot we’ve been coming to for years. In fact both Cathie and I camped there as children and now our children are making the trek with our grandchildren. It’s a great place to relax and do a little fishing. I do mean a little fishing, as in 12 days I only went 3 times and my take was only 5 five fish..

I’ve been taking some hikes in the surrounding mountains with a hike to several high mountain lakes. We took one day and drove to Yosemite and rode our bikes all over the valley floor. It’s one of the best ways to see Yosemite Valley. After a picnic lunch we stopped in at the Ahwahnee Hotel for desert and for $21 we each had a piece of pie. I guess it’s all about location.

The campground is pretty much full with retired folks in their RV’s. Gary and Diane met an acquaintance from Valley Center and we all ended up in their camp for happy hour. As you can see in the photo our bartender is making margaritas and later in the evening they pulled out their propane gas log campfire. Now that’s roughing it.

On our last day in the Eastern Sierras I attempted to climb to the top of Mt. Dana. Located at the top of Tioga Pass and just outside of Yosemite, it is 13061 feet. It is easily assessable, if you consider that the route from the trailhead to summit is only about 2.8 miles and that it rises over 3100 vertical feet, the route has an average grade of about 23% as easily assessable. As the trail climbs higher, trees give was to bushes, which give way to rocks. At around 11,400 feet the Dana Plateau is reached and the trail levels out for a while. Then the trail becomes more difficult to follow as the route traverses rocks which get larger as you get higher.

Starting out bright and early at 6:30, I was the first to begin the climb. My plan was to turn back if I hadn’t reached the summit in 4 hours. I told myself that I would be satisfied to reach the plateau and 11,400 feet, but if I felt ok, I would continue on. The trail to the plateau is very steep, but a trail none the less. I made it to the plateau in about 90 minutes and after a short rest I felt really good. So, onward and upward. Crossing the plateau was easy because of its gentle slope. When the slope got steep again the trail began to disappear. I was making pretty good time picking my way over and around the rocks and at 3 hours I was 200 to 300 vertical feet from the summit. I could see the top from where I was standing. It was about this time that I became lightheaded and slightly dizzy. The route was so steep at this point I felt like I could fall off the mountain. I rested for about 10 minutes, but dizziness did not subside. I much as I wanted to go forward, I think I made the prudent choice and started back down. It was disappointing because I was so close.

A few hundred feet lower and the dizziness disappeared, but I made the decision to head back to the trailhead. I spoke to climbers coming up after me and told them of my experience. They all agreed that I made the right choice. The mountain will always be there and I will try again next summer.







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