It was the worst of years, and the best of years

posted Sep 29, 2011, 8:21 AM by Paul Wagner   [ updated Sep 29, 2011, 8:47 AM ]
2011 will go down as memorable, any way you look at it.   Snowfall was 200% of normal in many areas, and we had to change two of our trips into the high country  because we simply couldn't get there from here.  There was too much snow, and the water in the creeks was way too high to ford.  We also found massive avalanche paths that filled our route with downed trees, making hiking just plain unpleasant.  
That's one of the creeks that turned us back, in the photo at right. I think you can see why.
So the summer got off to a late start, and in some ways it never really caught up.  We saw more water in the Sierra this year than we've ever seen.  Lakes, creeks, rivers, meadows and trails were all filled to overflowing.
And then there were the mosquitoes.  As one ranger in yosemite said, "This was the second snowiest winter in history, and the second worst summer for mostquitoes, too"
Yes it was. 
Clouds of mosquitoes seemed to follow us everywhere.  That's P's hat below, on a ridge at 10,500 feet in Yosemite, and a good mile from any water source.   P's hat
And yet...
It was a great summer.  We had some wonderful adventures in the High Sierra; a hike out of Loon Lake into Desolation Wilderness,  Yosemite's Lake Eleanor and the Beehive in early June, Mono Creek and Lake Thomas Edison in July, back to Yosemite for Nelson Lake, Bernice Lake, Emeric Lakes in August.  And then in September a lovely trip in the Ansel Adams Wilderness to Isberg and Post Peak Passes, and the some of the nicest country (and fishing) we've seen in a while. 
And the same snow that fed the mosquitoes also created a fabulous wildflower show just about all summer.  Water was everywhere--which meant that we didn't worry much about where we were going to find it.  Our packs were a bit lighter this year, because we didn't carry full bottles on every trail.
And looking back on things, those mosquitoes weren't so bad, were they?  
Heck, if it weren't for the fact that one of our daughters is getting married in a couple of weeks, we'd be trying to squeeze one more trip into October.
And we're already looking over maps, and thinking about next summer. 
Or maybe a snow trip this winter.  hmmmm.