Ten years ago this week, my older son and I hiked the “Yosemite High Sierra” camps, four days of hiking from one high altitude tent camp to another. He was about to start his second year of his post-doctorate at University of Texas, Austin; I was General Counsel for a Monaco-based activist investment firm. I’d planned the trip (only available through a lottery system) with several women, but after they all cancelled because of conflicts, Christopher readily agreed to go with me. I was ecstatic!
The weather was lovely, having snowed and rained the week before. We approached Yosemite from the eastern Sierras (Nevada) side, a new drive for us. We checked into the base camp late afternoon, found our little tent (complete with Army cots and heavy grey blankets and wood-burning heater) and the shared restrooms, and listened to stories of other hikers.
We were responsible for carrying our clothing and snacks, medical supplies, and rain gear, but each night we’d stay at a different camp (set up only in summers) and share dinner, sometimes shared a tent (the second night with a very nice family but father was heavy snorer), sometimes had our own, then would wake up to frost and breakfast. We had all day each day to make our way to the next reserved camp, sometimes clambering up uncharted trails, other times basking in meadows or reading books on boulders near mountain streams.
We talked, we reflected, we viscerally knew this time together was unusual and not likely to happen too often. Christopher challenged me to tackle routes I didn’t think I could do, coaxing me gently to make my way, protecting me from heavy winds at the top of peaks, offering to carry some of my pack if needed. One night the camp supervisors helped us make candle boats to float in the stream at dark. We relished the dark skies and brilliant stars. A very special time.
We scrambled to top of Vogelsang Peak, about 11,100′, no trail, lots of scree, incredible, expansive views at the top. I was hesitant, my legs wobbly, but we did it together and the prize, cooling off my very sore fee in the cold (icy) lake once we were back to camp and off the summit.