Backpacking the Ansel Adams Wilderness Day 2

Day 2

Backpacking the Ansel Adams Wilderness

Mammoth Lakes, CA

Waking up to nothing but nature

Ugh. Ugh is right. The night was restless. It typically is always restless for me the first night in the wilderness; however, this night seemed to be a little more than normal. It normally takes me one night to get used to my surroundings no matter how many times I go out on the trail.

Ultimately I wanted to wake up early, just before sunrise to be ready for the beautiful sun illuminating over the peaks. Umm... Ya right! Talk about dreaming. I lay in bed with my eyes opening and closing. Should I get up, or shouldn't I get up? That was the ultimate question. Can I go back to sleep? Maybe just one more hour? After I finally crawled out from my tent I stood up, stretched, and realized how beautiful everything was around you. You really can't get much better than waking up in the wilderness. Birds great you with their beautiful song, the creek was singing its melody, and the crisp air morning makes you feel alive. 

For breakfast I had packed the same thing every day. It consisted of quick oats with slivered almonds, vanilla protein powder, topped with freeze dried raspberries and of course a big ole cup of joe.  Being in absolutely no hurry to pack up I sat around camp enjoying my long lazy morning, sipping on my cup of coffee and taking in the gorgeous view that surrounded me. Well, being lazy during the morning did cost me a bit in the afternoon. It meant hiking in the warm part of the day, but let me tell you it was worth it. So, Garnet Lake here I come.

Up and Over

Originally I thought Day 2 was my easy day. The hike to camp at Garnet Lake was less than 4 miles. Easy peasy! However, once I got my legs moving the hike felt like so much more. The heat from the sun was my ultimate payment for my lazy morning. My usually trustworthy day 2 hiking legs were nowhere to be found.

Once I finally made it to the pass I found snow and not just a little bit of snow. It was alot of snow! This meant I had to walk down a huge hill with alot of snow. In the snow, I am not very sure footed, and I had only worn my barefoot tennies, so this was going to be interesting for sure. I carefully placed each foot to ensure I didn't fall flat on my face. Very slowly, I made my way to the overlook where I could see the all so gorgeous sight of Garnet Lake. I made it! Only a little bit to go and I would be setting up camp. Since I was so close, and the view was to die for it ended up being the absolute perfect spot for a quick power nap and some food.

Glicading? Ehhh What Did You Say?

As I lay there taking my nap, or at least trying to, I heard a group cresting the pass. It sounded like there was about 8 or so in the hiking squad. To the sound of it, they were as worried about faceplanting in the snow as I was. Then one hiker laughed out loud and said 'well we can just glisade'. This definitely caught my attention as I had no idea what glisading was. Come to find out, it is where you just sit down on your bottom and slide down the snow. Like sledding with no sled :)

This year, California reached about 200% snowfall so I guess all the backpackers are doing it these days. So, naturally, I had to try this new cool glicading. All the cool kids are doing it, I have to too!

Garnett Lake

With nap time being over, I got up and continued walking down the trail to Garnet lake. This is where I found my first opportunity to try out this Glisading thing. So, I sat my booty on that snow and pushed off. Whoooshhh! I was at the bottom of the mountain in a blink of an eye. This, let me tell you, was so much better than trying to walk down a slippery snow packed mountain side. At the bottom of the mountain I stood up and quickly realized the downside to glisading... a wet, cold backside. Next time, if you get a chance to glisade a mountain side you need to do it! Be prepared for your booty to be quite wet, but it is so worth it!


The Moon Doesn't Care About your star Photos...

After setting up camp, I took a quick dip in the lake, which was super cold. Then, the evening came upon me fast. I was so incredibly excited for tonight. This night meant amazing star photos. The milky way was out and it was supposed to be directly over Mount Ritter. At 9 O'clock the stars started to show their beautiful twinkle, but the moon was high in the sky drowning most of the starry night. Bummed, but undeterred I stayed up.

As 10 O'clock crept up, the stars were still not strong enough to outshine the bright moon. Then it was 10:30 and I finally decided that I needed to go to bed. After all I had a big day of hiking tomorrow.

Disappointed to say the least I crawled into bed with no photos. Drifting off to sleep, all I could think about was how neat that image would have been. Maybe I was obsessing a little too much, but it is what it is.

A chill woke me up around 2 am. I laid there thinking about the stars and realizing that the moon must have set as it was quite dark outside. I began to argue with myself. My laziness was getting the better of my, but my determination to get a good photo was trying to encourage my lazy side to buck up. If only I crawled out into the cold for just a minute I could capture that perfect picture. The internal battle went on for about 15 minutes, but eventually my drive and determination won. I finally got my lazy booty out of bed.

Sitting up, I put on my jacket, gloves, and beanie, grabbed my camera, and headed out into the cold night.  I walked down to the lake knowing that I could potentially get the perfect composition. In the dark cold night, I set up my camera, clicked the shutter button, and waited. The 15 second exposure was a long cold 15 seconds. The screen went black, and then BAM! There it was! Seriously the best night image I have ever taken in my life. Jumping for joy, I forgot about the cold and took a few more photos.


This was it, I finally captured the Milky Way over Mount Ritter! I grabbed all my things and ran back to the tent hoping to get some sort of sleep that night. As I lay there trying to sleep my mind lingered on the photos. Ultimately, I didn't go to sleep quick as I couldn't stop thinking about the gorgeous photos that I just captured and the amazing adventure that I had ahead of me for day 3....

Wishing you nothing but amazing adventures! Stay tuned for day 3!

Adventuring of a Small Town Girl (ASTG)


p.s. if you haven't seen day 1 check it out here.

All Photos are for sale on my photography website here.

My Gear

P.S. wanna know what gear I used? Check it out here:
Kit Used:
Camera: Sony A7Rii:
Favorite Lens: Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master:
Wide Angle: Sony 16-35mm lens:
Vanguard Tripod:

Samsung Note 4 smart phone

Editing & Processing:
Bulk editing: Adobe Lightroom:
Fine tuning: Adobe Photoshop :
Viva Video Pro for combining videos