Getting high

View northeast from north of Sawtooth Peak to the Kaweah Pks. (Black Kaweah, 13,680' at left, Mt. Kaweah, 13,802' far right).

View northeast from north of Sawtooth Peak to the Kaweah Pks. (Black Kaweah, 13,680′ at left, Mt. Kaweah, 13,802′ far right).

I like to get up high. There’s the long upward climb toward the ridgecrest. As I pace myself and look around, there’s plenty of time to study, appreciate and enjoy my surroundings. At rest stops I admire the view unfolding wider and wider.

Finally we reach the ridgecrest. The view ahead opens wide to a whole new vista of wild peaks and ridges. In winter and spring, snow makes the scene the more spectacular.

In at least three years over the long Memorial Day weekend, we drove up the long, steeply ascending canyon to Mineral King in Sequoia Park. Here the canyon turns and widens into a broadly U-shaped valley flanked on the east by the Great Western Divide topped by 12,343 foot Sawtooth Peak.

Here a trail winds 4,000 feet to the ridgecrest north of the peak before plunging into the spectacular wilderness of the Kern River drainage.

Standing on the ridgecrest looking back, we survey forested slopes and the canyon leading out to the hazy San Joaquin Valley. Looking forward, we are awed by a broad panorama of snow-covered slopes and cliffs culminating in the serrated Kaweah Peaks Ridge–dark gray rock carved into unimaginable shapes by frost.

The scene vibrates with energy and power–I can feel it. Back home I will remember that feeling–and remember that that energy and power is all about me wherever I may be. I have been made part of God’s wonderful creation, energy and all–I’m humbled and grateful.



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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