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Sierra Mountain High

(8/11/05) We almost expected yodelers to appear as we entered the Swiss Alps-like setting of Kearsarge Lakes and Mt. Gould. We certainly felt the effects of high altitude as we hiked and camped at elevations higher than any mountain we've ever climbed. One thing we all noticed at high altitude was feeling naturally "high". I was obviously high enough to pull a few crazy acts such as performing my rendition of the opening scene of the Sound of Music.

Near our campsite, we spotted two deer with proud and elaborate antlers. We didn't see any bears, but did hear reports of a bear that broke open a bear canister. If bears can be taught to ride motorcycles, you figure sooner or later they would make their way into our plastic vaults. To close the day on Saturday, we witnessed an amazing sunset on a ledge over Kearsarge Lakes, watching a multitude of fish jumping out of the water like fireworks, as the sun slowly descended beyond the horizon.

Early Sunday morning, we broke camp in the dark to begin our ascent up Mt. Gould at 13,005 feet. On our way up to Kearsarge Pass, we witnessed the fiery alpine glow on the mountain tops. The trek up Mt. Gould was a challenge with no trail and a landscape strewn with rocks. It took us quite a while to navigate our way to the top. The last few yards to the top was like climbing a rock wall. There were a few sections where ropes would have been handy. Coming down from Mt. Gould was actually a lot of fun as we skied down the scree slope, using our hiking poles as ski poles.

We lucked out again with the weather. We experienced light sprinkle a couple times during our hike, but were saved the wrath of thunderstorms. This was a difficult trip for me because I started the trip with a light summer cold that developed into a respiratory infection by trip's end. Climbing up and down a thirteen thousand foot mountain with a fever was no picnic. It never fails to amaze me how powerful the mind is. With the right drive and focus, the mind can transcend the body well beyond its limits.

Jimm's photo contributions are incredible. His photos are labeled "GLDJJ". Gallery grade, dude! :)