Considering she lives in an area where elevation is measured in numbers below sea level, we thought we’d start Shelby’s visit off with a bang and a high elevation hike. After a hearty breakfast we set out for the Shirley Canyon and Shirley Lake trail in Squaw Valley loaded up with water, lunch, and plenty of snacks.
The trail along the creek was about 2½ miles to Shirley Lake, passing scenic waterfalls and canyon boulders, uphill all the way. The term ‘trail’ is used loosely along much of the hike as the route diverges and disappears at times. Blue marks on rocks were the only thing to identify the route in some areas and seeking them out became part of the fun.
We played leap frog with other groups of hikers as we stopped for a photo, they stopped to let their dog splash through the creek, and we all took our turns catching our breath. Some steep sections that required negotiating up/over/around granite boulders slowed down this height-challenged hiker. Thank goodness we stopped to get Shelby some hiking shoes at the beginning of her trip. This mountain is no match for LSU flip flops.
After more uphill and about 1½ miles past Shirley Lake we reached the High Camp and with a sigh of relief took in the expanse of High Sierra and Lake Tahoe. The terrific 360 view from this vantage point at 8,200 foot elevation was definitely worth the effort.
We were tired and dusty after hours of hiking. Lots of other people were milling about, but they didn’t look like they just hiked four miles uphill. As we moved closer to the High Camp buildings we took in another sight that was like a mirage: a bright blue sparkling swimming pool filled with people enjoying reggae music. At the top of the mountain, near the ski lift – a swimming pool!
The hundreds of enthusiasts enjoying the Wanderlust yoga retreat provided excellent people watching as we had a snack and cooled our feet before riding the Cable Car down 2,000 feet to our starting point. We all felt enormous gratification from our accomplishment and Shelby’s spirit of adventure and love of nature came shining through on this hike. I think it’s going to be a good week.