From the time I was on-trail until the time I set up camp, I never went more than 20 minutes without seeing another person. Yes, the way was trafficked. Along that way, some 5-6 people, when hearing that I was on a solo trip and that I was planning to camp in the more remote 60 Lakes Basin, reacted with a pause, one that seemed like an inward “wow, really, are you sure” but verbally-outward it was: good for you. Summation as I saw it: everyone seems to think I’m a little foolish, perhaps, to camp alone in a remote area of the Sierra.

At Charlotte Lake, the ranger, simply doing her job, and I had a short conversation that went like this (this is only the part about camping solo in 60 Lakes Basin):

Ranger: you have inReach?

Me: I have a SPOT device.

Ranger: Ok, good. Well, if something happens, it’s easy to do an evac from 60 Lakes.

Me: (I said nothing. My mind was a mix of something like — what is she saying, really, … she’s being matter-of-fact, which is a good thing … hmm…bears are there, it’s well known … hmm…I have to cook food. No bear boxes. Bear canister should be enough. Ugh…turn off the brain.)

Charlotte Lake Camp

I sat at camp and read a book and scratched out some writings. The day was glorious. I was living in the dream of a perfect summer day in the High Sierra. Nevertheless, my mind was unsettled.

I’ve never liked/agreed with the notion of people saying, at least s/he died … “doing what they love.” I get it, there is risk involved in doing “adventurous” things. Perceived risk. Yes, some of us like a little “edge” from time to time.  Sure, we say, sometimes … “only live once” or something of that spirit. Regardless, I’ve felt for a long time that no one, when it’s in that “oh shit” moment, thinks: hey, it’s cool, I’m about to die doing what I love.

Later in the evening while talking with a fellow backpacker who was doing the Rae Lakes Loop, I heard this: I’ve been coming up here for years, with friends, family, solo … when I’m solo, I always try to camp near other people and where there are bear boxes.

There are no bear boxes in 60 Lakes Basin, and most people don’t camp there.

Is the universe telling me something?

What to do?

I watched Alpenglow happen.

independent writer

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