Ansel Adams Wilderness Day 2 Backpacking

Ansel Adams Wilderness Day 2 Backpacking

by Bessie Young


Waking up in the wilderness

Ugh.  The night had been restless as it always is for me on the first night out in the wilderness. Typically it takes me a night to get used to the new sleep environment no matter how many times I go backpacking.

My goal was to wake up for sunrise and catch the sun illuminating the peaks above camp. Ya right. That wasn't happening what with the star photos last evening and the first nights restlessness. Once I finally crawled out of my tent I was greeted with the sounds of birds chirping, the beautiful hum of the creek, and the amazing high Sierra crisp morning air. You cant get much better than that!  Even if i did miss the sunrise.

Breakfast consisted of oatmeal with almonds, protein powder and freeze dried fruit, with a big ole cup of coffee. I enjoyed a long lazy morning basking in the incredible views surrounding me. I was in no hurry to pack up and hit the trail. The cost of my laziness would be hiking during the warmer part of the day.  Oh well, Garnet Lake here I come.

Up and Over

The hike to Garnet Lake was less than 4 miles although if felt like much more. The sun was extracting payment for my mornings laziness and my usually trustworthy day 2 hiking legs were nowhere to be found. I must have left them at the truck. The views however were absolutely gorgeous and I captured a fewalong the way.


As I reached the pass I found snow! A lot of snow. I carefully walked down the snow covered north side of the pass, trying my darndest not to slip and fall on my face. I slowly made my way to an overlook where I could see Garnet Lake! Yay! Perfect spot for lunch and a quick power-nap.

Glicading? What?

Laying at the top of the mountain, I heard a group of hikers cresting the pass. They were as concerned with the possibility of doing a snow face plant as I was. Then one hiker laughed and said 'we can just glisade'. My ears perked up as I had no idea what glisade was. Come to find out you just plain sit down in the snow and slide.

With a near 200% snowfall I guess all the backpackers are doing it these days :) Naturally I was determined that I had to try it before the trip was over.

Garnett Lake

Nap complete I continued down the trail to Garnet lake where I came upon my first opportunity to try out this so called Glisading. I sat my booty on that cold snow and pushed off. Whoosh! Down the mountain in a blink of an eye. It was so much better than trying to walk down the slippery slope. At the bottom I popped up and realized the downside of glisading... an ice cold and quite wet bottom side. It took awhile to dry, but it was so worth it! Next time you get the chance to glisade down a mountain you need to do it, but be prepared to have a wet booty after.

Garnett lake obviously didn't disappoint. It was beautiful!

The Moon Doesn't Care About your Night PHOTOS

The evening came on quickly. I was incredibly excited as I expected the Milky Way to be directly over Mount Ritter. 9 O'clock rolled around and the moon was high in the sky and extremely bright robbing me of any chance to get star photos. Bummed but undeterred I decided I would stay up until 10 to see if the stars would get brighter in spite of the moon.

10 o'clock rolled around and the stars were unable to outshine the moon. At 10:30I decided to go to bed, disappointed to say the least. The Milky Way was was in fact over Mount Ritter, but it's true beauty was overpowered by the glow of the moon.

A chill woke me just before 2 in the morning... As I laid there, I began an argument with myself. I could tell that the moon had set indicating the stars should be shining bright. If only I would crawl out into the cold I could capture the image I was dreaming of. After fighting with myself for about 15 minutes I finally got my lazy booty out of bed.

I headed down to the lake hoping to get the perfect composition.  In the cold I set up my camera and clicked the shutter button. The exposure was 15 seconds, a long cold 15 seconds. My screen went black, and then boom! There it was! The most awesome night photo I have ever taken. Excited and no longer feeling the cold I had to take a few more.

I had finally captured the Milky Way over Mount Ritter.  I gathered my things and ran back to the tent hoping for some decent sleep the remainder of the night. As I shut my eyes my mind lingered on the images I had just captured.   Sleep was not quick as I lay there thinking about the shots and the amazing adventure that I had ahead of me for day 3....

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


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