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Treasure Lakes Backpacking - Sophia's first time overnight in the Sierra

Treasure Lakes Backpacking - Sophia's first time overnight in the Sierra

What follows is a paper that my daughter wrote for a 5th grade project. We had gone up to Parchers Resort this summer, one of my favorite places outside Bishop, to spend one night in a cabin and one night backpacking to Treasure Lakes out of South Lake. This trip has quickly become one of my favorite trips to the Sierra. After my challenging attempt to summit Mount Langley earlier this summer, I was buoyed by my daughter’s enthusiasm during our long weekend.

My teacher handed us this paper during our parent/teacher conference. I am happy that Sophia is already becoming a better writer than me. I added the photos later.

 At the South Lake Trailhead

At the South Lake Trailhead

Treasure Lakes

I gasped for air as my dad and I ascended up the hill. We were almost to Treasure Lakes in the Sierra Nevadas. We had been hiking for about two miles now. The total hike was only three miles, but miles in the Sierras feel different than normal miles. The elevation also played a key role in tiring my dad and me.

 Ascending along South Lake

Ascending along South Lake

My dad looked up and over the mountain. He pointed to a little dip in the ridge, where there was a small section of fluffy snow on the edge. I looked where he was pointing. I had used this patch of snow as a landmark and it was getting more visible as we got closer and closer to our destination.

 Taking a right at the trail to Treasure Lakes

Taking a right at the trail to Treasure Lakes

“That’s where we’re headed,” my dad said, eyes locked on the distant destination.

“Can we stop for a few seconds?” I asked in between breaths. My legs felt like Jell-O after walking uphill.

“Always,” he replied. “But we don’t want to stop too long, Soph. We’ll have to get used to the elevation again.” I stubbornly sighed and rested my weight against my trekking pole. It was hard to believe how tired I was. I’d only been hiking for a few miles and I was struggling to keep trudging up the never ending switchbacks.

How long is this going to take?

Why is this so difficult?

 Crossing the Treasure Lakes outlet creek

Crossing the Treasure Lakes outlet creek

“Let’s go,” said my dad, which brought me right back to reality. After a few moments, my dad began to walk again, signalling that we should keep moving. I sighed and dragged my feet up the hill as if I was walking through wet concrete. Is this hike going to be worth it? When will it be over? I thought as I walked.  My feet were numb, my legs on fire. The worst part was my lungs. As I was scrambling up the granite slabs, my lungs were about ready to give way to the elevation. My airways felt like they were full of maple syrup, and I could see that my dad was beginning to slow down as well. It’s not just me, I thought. Dad is struggling too.

“Let’s keep moving.” he said. I looked up the trail and sighed at the fact that we had to continue moving, despite the condition of my body.

 Ponds before the Treasure Lakes

Ponds before the Treasure Lakes

“Can we rest for a little longer?” I asked with hope. I wasn’t ready to give up, but I also wasn’t ready to keep moving either.

We stopped a moment longer and kept moving. We began angling more uphill than before. The grassy switchbacks were turning into granite slabs.

As we continued on, I was beginning to lose hope when the slopes began to flatten and become a narrow trail in short grass. I was starting to see pine trees. We followed the gravelly trail until it opened up into two deep blue bodies of water, surrounded by pine trees.

 Arrived at the Treasure Lakes

Arrived at the Treasure Lakes

“Wow.” I gaped. There was a Sierra mountain looming above the vast, mirror-like lakes. I hurriedly pitched the tent with my dad and ran down to take in the view. On the right was a small bank that was perfect to sit on. I peeked into the striking lake, and saw trout swimming in the water. I could just imagine a bear lumbering on the other side. I sighed and closed my eyes, tilting my head up toward the sun. I finally conquered the mountain.

 Exploring the Treasure Lakes

Exploring the Treasure Lakes

From that moment on, I realized that no matter the challenge, it was always worth it. For the learning experience and for the fun. Like all of the other backpacking trips I’d been on, this one was definitely worth it.

 Enjoying the view of South Lake

Enjoying the view of South Lake

Path of the Puma - The Amazing Return of the American Lion

Path of the Puma - The Amazing Return of the American Lion