The Delights of Airline Travel

posted Mar 9, 2011, 10:00 AM by Paul Wagner
No, we're not great fans of the airlines.  Admittedly, P travels so much that he gets special treatment at the gate...but like everyone else, he is still stuck on a plane with hundreds of people every time he flies. It's not exactly backpacking. 
Here's his account.  
A recent flight out of SFO sure had its charms.  Choosing a window seat allowed me to get the ultimate bird's eye view of the Sierra, and since I was headed for IAD, we went right over the top of Sonora Pass.  I could trace at least four of our recent pack trips into the Emigrant Wilderness--although they were under a heavy snowpack.  It was pretty great entertainment--way better than the video on board!
Crabtree Trailhead was clearly visible, as was the topography to get to Camp, Bear, and Granite Lakes.  And I could easily make out the route to Grouse Lake, up Louse Canyon, and on to Woods Lake.  The huge granite gorge of Cherry Creek really stood out, and Yellowhammer Lake's location was obvious, down in the canyon.  From there I could follow the creek all the way down to Cherry Lake.  Every lake I could see was frozen over except for Cherry Lake. 
And higher up, closer to the crest, I could Emigrant and Huckleberry Lake.  And south of that was Matterhorn Canyon and Kerrick Canyon; another great trip we took just this last summer.  In the distance Half Dome and Cloud's Rest were good markers; and from there I could see Tuolumne Meadows, Cathedral Peak, and Mount Conness. 
It was as much fun as any map, and I was glued to the window for the entire time.   And yes. I wish I had carried my camera on board. 
There were clouds hanging just over the crest, so the east side was pretty much covered up.  I couldn't see Leavitt Meadows or our long hike up the West Walker River.  But I could see Bishop and the road that leads up to Twin Lakes and the trailhead for the Matterhorn Canyon trip.  It disappeared in to the fog just as it hit the hills on the east side. 
The whole show put a smile on my face for most of the rest of the flight...until I realized how long it would be before I was going to walk those mountains again.  sigh. 
Time to pull out a map and start planning.