Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood

Originally posted on the WPSMB on 10-6-08

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; …

The words of Robert Frost rang through my head as I wandered about and above home this weekend. The reports on the weather had cancelled all of the plans of bigger peaks or walks, so I happily contented myself with exploring the aspens of Bishop Creek. Friday after I was done seeing patients in the early afternoon, I drove up to Lake Sabrina to wander in the direction of Blue Lake. The earlier reports here had intrigued me, so (taking a page out of DougSr’s book and wearing my Levis…) I threw a small pack together and headed up the trail. I couldn’t believe that the last time I had been up at this spot had been Christmas with Tom as we snowshoed around the Lake. Colors of fire lined the road and creekside, the clouds shielding the brightest glare. As I scrambled around the outlet creeks below the dam, I watched good size trout floating against the current, waiting for their next meal, and made a mental note to just leave the dang pole in the TOF. The walk along Lake Sabrina was a gentle grade, finally climbing high above the south shore to the granite faces above and then further south to Blue Lake. The aspensstood tall in the gulleys along the waterways, brilliant yellow stripes against dark granite and, looking up, steel skies. I rested a while along the shore of Blue Lake with a few guys who were packing in for the next few nights, knowing what the forecast was supposed to bring. As I turned to head for home, a single wind gust chilled my hands, and I donned gloves. But then the sun burst forth and the clouds faded. I strolled back along the lake watching the golden hour reflect in the already brilliant hillsides.

Saturday dawned cool and grey once again, but cleared early to show the dusting on White Mountain. Clouds hung low over the Crest as I walked through the Classic Car Show at the Fairgrounds, ogling the chrome and shiny paint jobs and dreaming of cruising with the top down. Around 1030 the clouds finally started to pull back, and I headed up the hill once more, this time making the turn up to North Lake. While the parking lot and road was jammed with photogs and tripods, all searching for that one shot , I had the trail to Piute Pass mostly to myself. The air was quiet save for the breathing of the wind through the aspens, and the trail was littered with debris from the storm of Friday night. I followed this yellow brick road as it climbed beneath the Piute Crags and Mt. Emerson, watching to see if more clouds would materialize. I ate lunch beside Piute Lake , sheltered from the wind beneath a granite face, brushing off the thin layer of snow. White caps brushed the shore and spindrift twirled off the ridge above. I thought of turning around at this point, just head back down to the warmth of the Valley below. But my feet weren’t quite done, and before I knew it I was cresting the Pass , staring across Humphreys Basin with it’s light white sheet. Fog hugged the Glacier Divide, and I smiled as I remembered watching the clouds cue up behind Mt. Humphreys from Lower Golden Trout Lake. They were doing it again now, and after a few minutes of hiding, Humphreys came out for a cameo, towering high above the Pass. Heading down, I paused only for more pictures in the afternoon light with the new snow, an occasional tongue of cloud drifting overhead and showering flickering ice crystals all around me. I tried my hand at fishing North Lake before going home, landing my biggest fish yet: a 2.5 lb rainbow that I could barely get my left hand around to remove the hook. Mmm… dinner…

Sunday was yet another treat: I met Chris (SoCalGirl) and her children , Damien and Alana, at the Alabama Hills Cafe for breakfast before we all headed up the hill in the TOF. They had permits to hike up the Main Trail , and I was just tagging along for a bit. Chris was aiming for Mirror Lake, but would base everything on how the kids felt. I’ll let her fill in the deets, but we had a blast, and both the kids (on their own) told how much fun they had had and that they couldn’t wait to come back. I fished out Lone Pine Lake, and we had fresh trout along with dinner at the Store that evening. We finished off the day with Mike’s birthday cupcakes (sorry, buddy, I’ll make you more!), before heading down the hill.

Atop Piute Pass, it was a poignant moment, where I thought about this marvelous summer of adventure, and how it’s door was finally closing. I stood in the wind as it whipped my pants and jacket around me, staring off into the deeper recesses and wondering what was to come next. While this first snow will most likely melt off, it will soon be followed by more, and the backcountry will be ‘closed’ for a time, allowing the space to rest and recuperate under a cold blanket. In my first full year here, these mountains have given me so much, allowed my (and my friends’) safe passage. There are so many paths to take, so many places yet to explore. I think the journey is only beginning.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two road diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

A few other moments from the weekend:

Mastering the Moment of Bliss:

Blue Lake pics are here .
Piute Pass pics are here .
Lone Pine Lake pics are here .

From the luckiest girl in the world: Climb Hard, Be Safe.



One Response to “Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood”

  1. What beautiful fall color pics. Sigh. I haven’t made my way up to your back yard yet this year…

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