Dome, stars and fire.

As a group, we are trying to do All The Mountain Things.

The brothers have fished in the lake several times, off the shore and from the canoe, which my sister and her husband had been kind enough to take down to the lake for us before we arrived. “To the lake,” in a drought year like this, means that one has to unlock the canoe from a tree at the level of the lake at its fullest, and carry it about 75 yards across the lake bed to a place where you can put it in the water. They paddled a total of five miles one afternoon and evening in the process and caught two little trout, which they shared at breakfast the next morning.

All the kids swam in the lake, and the girls floated around in tubes. All five young people slept on the deck one or two nights, and looked at the stars, and woke  to the hummingbirds’ loud zipping overhead.

Our first morning here, people immediately began discussing the granite domes we can see from the cabin, ringing the lake. Which one should they climb first? Where was the trailhead? I told them they must do the quick and easy Gumdrop Dome right behind the cabin, too close to see. Yesterday morning the five young hikers and I started off together in that direction, so I could show them the usual route up. I haven’t tackled it myself in at least ten years, but I like to walk around its base, which is high enough to give a good view.

The little clump of trees just to the right of center of the photo below is what becomes Ant Island when the water level is higher.

This was my first time to see a backpackers’ campsite. That was a cheery sight, unlike the more numerous saddening ones: the many trees up there that have been familiar features of my previous visits and have appeared in my photos over and over, now dead. One of them was what I sketched, that one time I exhausted my mind trying that art form.

In that post I also mentioned the little bent-over tree that I loved. It, too, is dead now:

Normally when I’m framing photos in the Sierras, I try to exclude dead trees, but that is no longer possible. I’m sure Mrs. Bread will recall our philosophical discussion while sitting on the deck one summer, as to the value and possible beauty of creation in the process of decomposition. At the time I think I was unwilling to exert myself in that mental exercise. Even now I am having a hard time with it!

After dinner last night, which four young people cooked — barbecued tri-tip, fried potatoes, sauteed vegetables, baked beans and chocolate chip cookies — an even larger group of us carted  supplies down to the dry lake bed to have a fire and make s’mores. Roger and Izzy did most of the work, and left Lora with her Granddad back at the cabin. Pearl and I came last to the scene, tromping through the bushes and gravel straight down the hill instead of by the road, when Roger was just setting a match to the kindling.

Venus was the first bright light in the sky. We all craned our necks searching the sky for constellations that were brighter every time we looked up. Philosopher made a s’more just for me, my first in decades, I’m sure.

Today Pearl went off in the canoe with Roger and Izzy to cross the lake and get nearer to the base of another dome, which they would climb. I’m eager for them to get back with pictures showing our Gumdrop Dome from that side of the lake. I feel richly blessed by every outing and conquest that each of my family has been making here, even the ones in which I personally am not directly participating. I guess it’s one of those benefits of producing and being with a large and busy family, that I can in this way continue to do (almost) All The Things.

9 thoughts on “Dome, stars and fire.

  1. HI… you are such a wonderful mother and grandmother!! and person! I love your posts..love them all the time.. Your attention to detail is amazing….and the photos are incredible! it is like going to a classroom..and learning about plants, and rocks, and disintegrating creation around us…and the moon, stars and fires on the beaches..starfish.. fish in general..and you write so beauti f ully. Then there is the church,. the people there..the holiness taught.. it is one grand four year college degree possible at your site here. Blessings and many thanks for your wonder and your depth and joy at Life! Merri I

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  2. How wonderful to be young and able to climb those rugged rock domes. Sitting around a campfire is such an experience and being there with beloved family makes it all the better.

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  3. Ah…the beauty of the west. Such wonderful times you are having with your family.

    The “minor note” that I hear in your writing that relates to drought and its impacts is truly a sad one. I wish there was a way to redirect all the moisture we’ve been getting in the eastern part of the country to help you all out.

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  4. As an avid outdoors-person, I say all of this togetherness and joy in the wild is just lovely, in spite of the drought we are suffering in the west. Also, I love the granite and quality of light in the Sierras.

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  5. That top photo — the lone fisherman on the rock — Wow. I hope he gets an enlargement of that one to frame. I love the campfire, the camaraderie. And oh, my climbing days are probably over but what a view. How fabulous.

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