(For part 1, go here)
I have not hiked extensively anywhere but the Sierras – I have hiked a little in the Andes (Peru), the Atlas Mountains (Morocco), The Alps (Switzerland), and the Canadian Rockies – but I am still convinced nothing compares to the Range of Light as John Muir called the Sierra Nevadas.
Most mountain ranges, including all of the ones above except the Sierras, are sedimentary rock, layers of brown or reddish- brown rock, lifted up and then eroded by glaciers or water. The Sierras are different, at least, the core of the Sierras; they are bright, almost white, granite. Gleaming towers of pure granite; meadows lined with glacial polished granite; with giant erratics left behind by the retreated glaciers. All in what is essentially a very high desert. It is intoxicating.
And, as we went over Mono Pass, we were all pretty much intoxicated. The rock was almost white and the sky was dark blue; we had miles to go to get down into the valley, but lots of time.
Time to look at the wildflowers that were blooming in the high spring, time to take a dip in Trail Lake, or just relax.
But, with all the intoxication and all the time, we didn't get camp setup until late and finished cooking dinner in the dark. Tired and happy campers.