Lower Salmon and the Sierra Buttes
A divine Labor Day weekend spent in the Sierra Nevada high country, soaking up the wild of it all. A pristine mountain lake at 7000 ft. elevation, Lower Salmon is protected by two large metal gates along a twisting rocky and rutted road. We had the keys. Our destination was a privately owned mining claim along the south shore.
It was once a working claim, but long since has fallen into disuse. It is now a remote campsite with a bit of sheltered level ground and a ring of stones for a campfire. Gigantic trees grow right out of the rock, gnarled by the profound snows of winter; they are like great soldiers crusted with lime-green lichen and inches-thick, fibrous bark. The lake is fed by several crystalline springs. It is very high and dry in the late summer. Very secluded. Very beautiful.
I am particularly taken with the weathered carcasses of these magnificent trees when they finally surrender, laid down at last by the austere conditions. I don't know how long they live, but they have a kind of afterlife on the ground, shockingly immense and immobile, a silken whitish gray, like the bones of some fantastic beast. They shine in the early morning light.
We had glorious weather for four days. The nights were crisp with a brilliant full moon, and after it set around 3am, stars forever. Two owls sang after moon-set, their calls echoing over the still water.
Forever grateful to Susan and Eric Neumann for their love and generosity and skills, making our high country journey possible.