The lure of Tuolumne proved irresistible this weekend (as it does on most weekends!). I took a drive to the high country on Sunday and decided to trek cross-country to the Dana Plateau and then to Dana Lake, which sits in the basin under Mt. Dana and its glaciers.
I have climbed Mt. Dana probably a dozen times, but I’d never visited the Dana Plateau area to the east. The hike transported me into a prehistoric wonderland, as the plateau has escaped the effects of glaciation. According to King Huber in his The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park, “these upland surfaces have significance far beyond being unglaciated, because they are very ancient.” My feet walked on land with remnants of terrain 25 million years old.
Dana Lake glistened under the “not a cloud” in the perfect sky. To borrow one of John Muir’s favorite words, my view of the lake from the crest was absolutely “glorious.” The water reflected the clear sky, and I stood hypnotized by the deep cerulean blue color. The landscape before me, although underscoring my insignificance in the greater scheme of things with its unavoidable reminder of the far-reaches of time, produced what I can only term a state of rapture. I remained at my vantage point for some time, almost near tears.
My skimpy breakfast and lunch may have produced my emotional state. I’ve heard that is why John Muir wrote such flowery prose—he was almost always half-starved since he carried very little food. My remedy? The Mobil Station. Too bad Mr. Muir didn’t have the option of dining on fish tacos after one of his jaunts.