Over a beautiful breakfast at the John Muir Lodge Restaurant (honestly that roof, total gorgeouesness), as a family we decided our itinerary for the day. Following the advice from Lonely Planet Guides, we decided to head to Mineral King Drive, an apparently winding road up a mountain with over 700 switchbacks (hair pin turns), this information will be important for the following tale.
We had not yet learned the rule that satellite navigation systems do not always work in the mountains, we should have taken a paper map. Nevertheless, we had quite the scenic tour on our way to the base of the mountiain, which took quite a bit of time out of our day.
The drive up mineral King, was stunning, there didn’t appear to be many other people around. It was just outside the parks, and so not national highway driving material, more off the beaten track. Apparently, the view at the top would be worth the drive.
I took pictures of the road on the journey, as I didn’t know if I would ever believe without photographic evidence that we did this trip, such was the awe of it all.
I was terrified, absolutely scared to the core, driving these cliffs, with no rail system, at up to 7000 feet, I din’t know i was scared of heights, but hilariously it turns out I might be. In fact I even cried, I tried closing my eyes, that did not help. The kids were in the back of the car making their usual noises, happy as anything, Shane was actually the one driving and was completely calm and confident, but I on the other hand struggled with the drive. Poor Shane drove so slowly, to help me, which only made the trip last longer, and I felt every one of those 700 switchbacks.
We got to the Ranger station at about 5000 feet, and I declared we have made it, this is it! But alas, Shane had read that what we were looking for laid just beyond and through the woods and into the valley.
Driving through the woods was magnificent, with historic huts dotted throughout a village that really was getting away from it all, totally off the grid.
I imagined writers, creatives, pastors getting away for some solitary time in the woods to restore their hearts and use the silence to find space to create, if it weren’t for the drive up here I would certainly love to spend a week up in this forgotten country.
Driving through the woods, with the promised view in sight was much easier than along the cliffs.
We eventually turned through the corner and came into the most secluded wild valley.
To the most magnificent, awe inspiring views. Where no photo can do justice to the majesty of the mountain.
It reminded me that even thought the journey can be long and painful, perhaps it is simply the only way to the view you are meant to see, a spectacular destination that restores the soul and breathes life again.
Once again, in complete joy my boys were taking photos to remember the moment we climbed a mountain for a spectacular view.
“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.” – John Muir
We took the road back down, surprisingly considering I was planning on calling a helicopter from the valley, so I didn’t have to drive back down. Thankfully the road back down I was much better, the lower we got the happier I was, i only realised later that t was perhaps a fear of heights, i shall have to work on this to go back up again someday.
At the bottom of the mountain (Hallelujah), on the way back into the park, we found a stunning restaurant to have lunch, wiht an outdoor setting over a running river, it was the perfect place to sit and chill after a long journey.
Such a beautiful view, and the sound of the river while we were eating lunch was beautiful.
Lots of Love