260/365: Mather Pass, Southside.

This is the view opposite the previous post's. That was the amazing thing about going over the passes: they are the lowest high point that we would go over, the point at which the water either flows down one side and into one drainage, or the other, and into a wholly different drainage. The peaks around us would tower for days leading up to the final push over a pass, a long meandering journey thru lush valleys and meadows, then up some steep geological 'wall' into ANOTHER valley or meadow, seemingly like another world, and hard to fathom that this sat ABOVE the last valley that we had been in, like those cheesy sci-fi movies where people go into the center of the earth to find not caverns and darkness, but some sort of other world with a sun and life...

At the passes, this dichotomy of landscapes was the most visible, as you could stand and face the direction you had come, and see your approach as far as you could, maybe 3 miles, maybe 7, depending on the lay of land and what peaks you had come around; and turning, be faced with a whole new landscape, not necessarily vastly different from the one you just came out of, but always different in such a way that it felt NEW, and laid before you like that, sweeping out from the keyhole you stood upon, inviting you to trace the forward path as well as you could, switchbacks first, down the steep face, then across the valley below and down, down, to some river that carved out a low notch for later than day, or the next. From Mather, we could officially see our next pass, 10 miles away. We would cross it the next morning. There's nothing like that feeling, to see 10 miles into the future, to a place that you would walk to over the course of hours.