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The Sierra Nevada

Over Term 1-2 break, seven intrepid Deep Springers set off together to explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains– the very peaks we had gazed at every day beyond the crest of our valley during Term One. For all of us, it was an opportunity to elucidate our thoughts on the last term, and build upon our evolving friendships.

Heading out from South Lake, we first noticed the crisp air and forests of lodgepole pines.  Everything was green and full of life; water trickled from snowfields and glaciers to fill deep, aquamarine alpine lakes, surrounded by soft beds of moss and granite slabs perfect for camping.

The thin atmosphere up high opened our lungs and frosted the tips of our sleeping bags at night, but more importantly it cleared our minds. After a busy Term One and Summer Seminar at the college, there was nothing better than waking up – while the sun pierced through the gaps in craggy peaks – to jump into a frigid lake, shocking our bodies as we witnessed each beautiful Sierra morning. Throughout the trip we hiked through Inyo National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. We climbed down into canyons, up over boulder-strewn passes, and summited the nearly 14,000’ Mt. Agassiz.

But the most memorable moments of the trip were hidden in our down time; reading, exploring, debating, and enjoying each other’s company amidst towering white cathedrals. In the evenings we made simple meals together, and witnessed the transient moment when the tallest mountains are crowned with rosy alpenglow.

On our final morning, after we reluctantly turned back to meet our ride, we passed back through the scree fields and below the tree line. There, where the mountains nurture rich forest floors, the cold nights had infused the hollow with the first smell of fall, and with it, the first thought of Term Two.

Jonathan Zisk DS’16


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