What better way to conclude a successful Yosemite Association members meeting in Tuolumne than to stretch the legs and climb a mountain. At the meeting in Tuolumne two years ago, snow had left a dusting on the terrain and I hiked over powder when I climbed Mt. Lewis near Mono Pass. Today the weather is sunny and warm and I scan for good swimming holes for the return trip.
After a long day and night of activity, we decide to pick a short hike. Johnson Peak barely rises above treeline, but the views from the top are outstanding. Everywhere I look, we see poetry; the speaker at the meeting was the lively and talented Chicano poet Francisco Alarcón, and his words vibrate in my mind. He told us that the word Mexico can be translated as "the belly button of the moon," and I try to describe the natural features I pass just as poetically. The empty creek beds we follow through the pine forest becomes strands of a giant spider web; the pine tree branches, feathers on the coat of the earth.
The summit affords us a good view of Mt. Conness, which from this vantage point appears utterly inaccessible. This summit is friendlier, a wide oblong dotted with boulders and Jeffrey pines. Tired from the weekend event (not from the barely two mile hike) we rest at the top, gazing at green swath of Tuolumne Meadows below and know it will soon be resting under the snow.