My third week in Mammoth ended with a final climb and another storm. With my internship over, I chose to spend a little more time in the mountains exploring and attempting Mt. Sill, a California 14,000 footer. The hike to base camp spanned nine miles through various biological zones from chaparral to the glaciated alpine and finished near the immense Palisade Glacier. As the southernmost glacier in the United States, it clearly showed a diminished size and exposed harsher, rockier terrain from its underneath. In the end, unstable weather lead to a retreat 800 feet from the summit, but created more time for other exploration. From moon-like terrain to remote hot pots and empty campsites, the surrounding areas of the Sierras were incredibly stunning. I found cow pastures and old barns and a Thai restaurant right on the airport taxiway in Bishop. The next day was a lonely six hour drive home. From then, everything back home felt crowded, loud, hot and busy. At that point I had spent a good thirty one days above 7000 feet: higher than the vast majority of people on the planet, and away from home every day but three.
Now, just a week after returning, I left again for a week in Santa Barbara with my sister to compete in CFJ Nationals, the most important regatta of the year. My prior experiences at the venue made me nervous as heavy wind seemed common. In the end, the conditions were a balance between medium light and medium heavy, and culminated in one of the better environments I have sailed in.
As for the rest of the summer, I hope to return to Mammoth, only this time for sailing in some of the amazing alpine lakes, while practicing my languages, starting the mountain of college applications and finding some climb time.