One of the sub-district rangers is out of town this week, so I have use of her unmarked car. The Powers-That-Be don’t like me driving the marked cruisers around, though I transported one through the park a week or so ago. The reason they give me is not that I may misrepresent a federal agent, take advantage of the lights or sirens, or speed off with a few thousand dollars worth of government property – none of those logical reasons. What they tell me is that the stripes are provocative, and I may be shot at. Personally, I think the unmarked vehicles are more provocative, what with their GSA plates, antennas, and hidden lights barely visible through the windshield. It has that sort of undercover I’m-stalking-you look to it. But, I’m glad to have use of the car, instead of burning my own gas or relying on rides from the other Rangers. (Not to mention, everyone pulls over and lets you pass when they notice the plates.)
Today, I drove myself down to the Lodgepole area, with intention of taking a jaunt down to Alta Meadow: a respectable 5.7 mile (one way) hike, with 2,000 feet elevation gain. At the junction where the trail splits, the right heading to the meadow and the left to Alta Peak, I decided it was still early enough to give a try for the peak – despite the protestations of my trail map (“very strenuous…don’t undertake this trail unless you are in good physical condition…one of the most strenuous trails in the western half of Sequoia National Park.”) From the junction, the peak is only about 2 miles away, but in those two miles awaits 2,000 feet of rocky elevation gain.
I did make it to the 11,204 feet summit and the views (this being my first time in the high Sierra) were stunning, despite the haze of pollution from the West.
For your enjoyment are some pictures and videos taken along the way (any chattering in the background of the videos is my radio).