Every summer Alpenglow Sports hosts an annual, free Mountain Festival, filled with adventure and fun for people of all ages and skill levels. When I saw backpacking and backcountry gourmet on the menu, I was sold. If there’s anything I love almost as much as being outside, it’s food. And cats, but that’s a different story. Alpenglow Sports partnered with Michelle from Adventure Dining Guide to lead a women’s trip out into the wilderness. The destination was originally Desolation Wilderness, but with the ridiculous snow year, plans changed to Watson Lake. It was a little closer and suited for women of all skill levels. Coming straight from sea level, I was a little grateful for the venue change and for being spared many miles of huffing at the back of the group like a fool.
This winter was a Sierra snow year for the books. I’ve lived in California all my life but don’t remember a winter where it rained for three months straight. All the snow meant my Sierra objectives were looking a little bleak and buried. I brushed up on my map and compass skills with REI and hit the trail in Mokelumne Wilderness at the beginning of June. My destination was a place I’ve never been: Fourth of July Lake in the Carson Pass Management Area.
I love birthdays. I love my birthday. I love other people’s birthdays. I love celebrating birthdays. I love birthday surprises. And most of all, I love birthday surprises that involve making awesome memories. My boyfriend officially crossed the threshold into his late twenties earlier this month. He’d never actually been backpacking before, so what better place to take him than Lake Aloha in Desolation Wilderness?
6 AM, my alarm cut through the quiet of the night. I groggily woke up, trying not to rustle my friend beside me in the car. My night was pretty restless, filled with tossing and turning, too excited to climb to get any real sleep. This was going to be the day. I was finally going to climb Corrugation Corner.