Earth Day 2013

The Sierra Nevada Mountains of California have always reminded me how precious our wilderness areas are. To celebrate my 60th birthday, I backpacked 360 miles from Lake Tahoe to Mt. Whitney, the hunch baked mountain behind me.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains of California have always reminded me how precious our wilderness areas are. To celebrate my 60th birthday, I backpacked 360 miles from Lake Tahoe to the top of Mt. Whitney, the hunch-backed mountain behind me. At 14,500 feet, it is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States.

In the wilderness is the preservation of the world – Henry David Thoreau

Forty three years ago I was recruiting for Peace Corps Volunteers at the University of California at Davis when Earth Day I took place. It was a beautiful spring day so I took a break and walked around campus visiting various booths featuring everything from recycling to wilderness protection. It changed my life.

Within a month, I was Executive Director of the Ecology Information Center in Sacramento, one of the nation’s first environmental centers, working seven days a week for a hundred dollars per month. While I would go on to spend a significant portion of my life fighting public health battles and wandering the world, I never travelled far from my environmental roots.

For 30 years I had the privilege of leading weeklong wilderness backpack trips through the High Sierra Nevada Mountains, following the same paths that the great naturalist John Muir hiked. Today, in honor of Earth Day 2013, I would like to share photographs from a 360-mile backpack trip I took from Lake Tahoe to Mt. Whitney to celebrate my sixtieth birthday.

These are the views that inspired Muir to begin his crusade to save the natural areas of America and the world. We owe him a deep vote of thanks for his efforts. More importantly, we owe it to ourselves, and future generations, to continue his efforts. As John Muir said so eloquently, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

The beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is found in its distant vistas…

The beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains can be found in its towering granite peaks...

Sierra Nevada lakes

Sierra Nevada Mountains

In its stately trees…

It's towering trees...

Juniper

tree stump

In its sparkling water…

Falls on Tuolumne River

Sierra Stream

Sierra pool

And in its carpets of flowers.

Sierra Nevada Mountains

Sierra flowers

Monkey flowers

Happy Earth Day… Earth. May you maintain your beauty, wilderness and quiet places for the soul as long as humankind wanders the world.

13 comments on “Earth Day 2013

  1. 22 years ago you introduced me to backpacking and the Sierras, via a 100K trek, in one week…….changed my life. On that trip was Orvis, 80 years old, carrying his own pack…….put the challenge in perspective for me and I never looked back! Grin….

    • Introducing people to the wilderness was always a joy… possibly one of the most valuable things I have done in my life. And who better to introduce than your future wife… (grin)

  2. A trip such as this needs to be mandatory for everyone.. say high schoolers.. That way they can really get all the beauty of this planet and live a life of nurturing and caring for our Earth.
    Gorgeous part of the world this is and I am mildly envious never to have seen it (in person).

    Happy Be-lated Earth day!!

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