When viewed from the air the landscape of Twenty Lakes Basin, located on the northeast boundary of Yosemite National Park, appears to have been decorated with sapphire gemstones inlaid in a setting of gray polished granite and green velvety meadows. Nestled in between mountain ridges and alpine slopes are an abundance of lakes bearing a hodgepodge assortment of names like Z, Hummingbird, Odell, Shamrock, and Wasco Lakes.
This past weekend I trekked to the shores of my favorite waters in the area: Conness Lakes. It would be difficult to find a better lunch spot in the Sierra accessible by a day hike. As we munched on our almonds and dried persimmons, the turquoise waters of the lake lapped on the feet of Mt Conness and its glacier and the adjacent North Peak.
Although it’s mid-August, the snowy terrain was more appropriate to a spring day in May. In the summer Conness Glacier is usually the lone white face on the rocky cliffs, but with the above average snowpack in the Sierra this year, most of the mountainside still boasted snow cover.
The scenery was splendid, yet I took the most delight in experiencing some “young people connecting with nature moments” (probably because I work for the Natural Wildlife Federation and inspiring kids--and people--to explore nature is my job as well). When most children in America spend less then ten minutes a day outside playing in nature, it's always nice to see kids enjoying the outdoors. It gives me some hope.
A group of adventurous kids had ignored the icy cold water and ventured into the shallow end of the lake to climb a small iceberg, which even to my adult eyes was too tempting to ignore. And my friend’s son treated us to an impromptu hip-hop dance (see video below), a sight I would venture to guess that the ancient rocks of the Sierra Crest had not witnessed over the millions of years they’ve stood watch. And I think they were the poorer for it.