An amazing piece, "A High Sierra state of mind":
MONO PASS TRAIL — Mary Breckenridge crosses the High Sierra every year, with only her horse and two mules for company.Read it all at the link.
She always leaves in September, when heat still tents the Central Valley but cool mountain breezes stir silvery-green aspen leaves.
Higher up, the nights could be so cold that the water in her coffee pot turned rock-hard. It's happened. She kept going. Packing and unpacking 300 pounds of gear daily, making and breaking camp, starting her fire from twigs.
It made her feel thrillingly self-reliant. A true Western woman.
Except, now she's 64, and she's not sure she can do it anymore. Not alone.
Bucko Davis had sworn he was done with packing. He'd had enough of being so tired that he would unload a pile of gear from a mule, plop down on top of it and have people walk by without realizing there was a limp body beneath the cowboy hat pulled over his face.
Then Mary tracked him down. They've been friends for 30 years, since he was a packer and she was a cook on commercial High Sierra trips. She needs him as backup.
Once long ago, Bucko said he would never tell her "no." He agrees to the trip.
He's spent his whole life in these mountains. He loves how the junipers line up for sentry duty along the ridges, the way edible mushrooms pop out amid the damp undergrowth.
Maybe now he can know if they will ever let him leave in peace.