Yesterday was the two year anniversary of my brother Samuel’s and my road trip from Portland, Oregon to Michigan where we hit Glacier National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Voyagers National Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Over Memorial Day Samuel was moving back to Michigan from San Francisco so we got a chance to go on another fantastic, jam packed road trip hitting eight national parks in four days. After picking me up at Oakland’s airport, Samuel took me to see San Francisco’s most notable landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge! We went on a short night hike to overlook this iconic bridge, before heading back to his apartment to get a few hours of sleep before beginning our adventure.
The next morning Samuel and I got up at 4 am to set out on our cross country road trip. Our first destination was Great Basin National Park in Eastern Nevada.
After a long drive we finally reached our destination. Our goal for the day was to hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak, however we knew this was doubtful due to heavy snows and that the main road to the train head was still closed for the season. We were aware that there was still a chance that the road would be reopened due to Samuel calling the park several times throughout the week leading up to our trip. While we had been periodically throughout our drive checking as to the status of the scenic drive we were excited when just an hour from Great Basin, Samuel pulled up the website to find out that thankfully the scenic drive was now open.
Upon arriving at the park though we could easily observe that Wheeler Peak was quite covered with snow. We found a most helpful Park Ranger at the visiter center who confirmed that the peak was likely out of our capabilities for the day, however encouraged us to hike to Stella Lake for breathtaking views.
The hike to Stella Lake was beautiful and through the woods, with Wheeler Peak dominating in the back ground. It didn’t take long for us to find the snow and of course Samuel couldn’t help but throw a snowball or two. After reaching Stella Lake we couldn’t help but marvel at this wonderful isolated lake. Also, I may or may not have fallen in this icy lake to my knees as I was trying to hop along the edge on rocks. It wasn’t my most graceful moment.
After hiking back down we took a different route attempting to reach the 4000 year old Bristlecone Pine Grove. Alas, despite our efforts we soon lost the trail in snow that quickly reached past our knees. Heaving disappointed sighs we turned around and made our way back to the car. Our glum mood didn’t last long as we started contemplating the following day’s adventure conquering Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park!