The Unnamed Basin

The unnamed basin above South Lake. Bottom of picture is c. 500 feet above the lake. Treasure Lakes are our of the picture to the left.

The unnamed basin above South Lake. Bottom of picture is c. 500 feet above the lake. Treasure Lakes are out of the picture to the left.

 

Below the outlet of the basin--late September 2013

Below the outlet of the basin–late September 2013

Mile-long South Lake lies at the head of the South Fork of Bishop Creek in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. When I visited the lake in 2009 I took a picture from the trail, near the lower end of the lake, of a steeply sloping basin on the Sierra crest beyond. The basin frames a towering triangular face at its head.

I have that picture propped against the wall on my dining room table and look at it every day. My eye follows up that basin to the peak–its lines converging at the apex and seemingly wanting to vault into the air. I picture myself climbing up that basin to the base of the peak like a pilgrim approaching a shrine.

Last summer a friend and I started up the trail on a day hike toward Treasure Lakes, just to the left of that smaller basin. Since we had a late start and wanted to start dinner before dark, we went only partway to the lakes. However, at our turn-around point we were directly below the outlet to my un-named basin and I was able to study it from this angle.

Now I have stood on the doorstep of “my” basin. I look forward to next summer with an earlier start and possibly a closer base camp and the opportunity to finally enter it.

Pictures, memories which are now part of me, and anticipation keep my interest alive and remind me of my connection to God’s wonderful world of which I have been made a part.

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About David McCoard

After earning my MS in geology I've done various things including managing the ski touring program at a small lodge in the Sierra. In 2010 I retired from Contra Costa College in California. I've always been fascinated by the mountains and nature and have spent countless days hiking, backpacking, climbing and skiing in the Sierra. The spiritual insights I've learned there have set the course for my life. Now I have time to share them and strike up a conversation.
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2 Responses to The Unnamed Basin

  1. Ellen says:

    Beautiful Dave😊

    • Thanks, Ellen. I’ve still got that picture on my table, and I still hope to get to it. That didn’t work out on my trip with a buddy this July–we decided instead to do day hikes out of Junction Campground just east of Tioga Pass. There are lots of basins and hidden valleys with lakes and meadows in a short radius. -Dave

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