July 21, 2010

A Daring Adventure

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many path and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."

The Old Walking Song sung by Bilbo Baggins, from The Lord of the Rings

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination." - Don Williams, Jr.

Our recent hiking adventure was made possible, in part, by two fine gentlemen, Calvin, a co-worker of the Caltrans trio, and George T., a church friend and step-father to Bud. Calvin and George T. drove us to our trailhead over near Bishop, California, last Friday, and then drove home, and then drove up to the Bear Creek Diversion Dam trailhead near Edison Lake this past Saturday to pick us up. On the pick-up trip they brought us fresh clothes and fresh food. Nice! Thanks, guys.

I rode in the car with George T., who is a thoughtful, literary man. On the way over to Bishop, the occupants of our car were discussing what it means to "have an adventure." George recalled the beginning of the adventure of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins in the JRR Tolkien book, The Lord of the Rings. Gandolph, the wizard, is sending the Baggins boys off, and Bilbo (or Frodo) said something to the effect of "Well, I guess we're off on an adventure, then." Gandolph replied to the effect of "Yes, but remember: real adventures always have an element of danger involved." [These are loose interpretations, loosely remembered, and I couldn't find the actual passage through a Google search.]

And even by Gandolph's rather ominous description of what a real adventure is, our recent hike really was an adventure, though significantly more benign than that of the Baggins boys.

To get a feel for the scale of our adventure, you may scrutinize the picture above. Pictured are, from left, Tom, George and Steve. Bud took the picture with my camera. The jagged mountain in the far background above and to the right of Steve (center top of the picture), is Mount Humphreys. Bishop, and our North Lake trailhead, are on the other side of Mount Humphreys. We hiked over Piute Pass (elevation 11,400 feet), on that ridge, then camped at Muriel Lake; then, the next morning we got up and hiked across the relatively flat Humphrey's Basin and camped at Tomahawk Lake; then, the next morning we got up and hiked to the second mountain you see just to the right of Steve's head in the photo (the pointed one that looks like a pyramid, which is called Pilot Knob). We hiked over that ridge, over Carol Col or "Puppet Pass," to the left of Pilot Knob, and then down into a basin and camped between Puppet Lake and Paris Lake (we called it Paris Hilton Lake); then, on the day this picture was taken we got up and hiked down into the canyon immediately behind us, which is French Canyon, then up out of French Canyon to where we are standing, on our way to Miriam Lake; we camped at Miriam Lake (elevation 10,930 feet), then, the day after this picture was taken we got up and had our hike over Ruskie Pass, which I described in my July 18 blog; the day of the Ruskie Pass climb we camped at lower Seven Gables Lake; the next day we got up and hiked to Medley Lake and camped; then, Friday morning we got up and hiked 15 miles to the end of our hike at Bear Creek Diversion Dam.

But our adventure was not simply one of thrill seeking, or going off to the wilderness to admire creation without acknowledgment of the Creator. We also went in search of God, and of each other, and of ourselves. And each of these, in addition to raw adventure, or more accurately, as an integral part of our adventure, we found in some measure.

"People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering." - St. Augustine

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice." Cherokee Wisdom


  1. "Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

  2. It is an awesome place, this gem that God has created, and the photos I know do not capture the true magnificence of it all. I think my favorite is the one at the end of the previous post... what a great adventure you had!