Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thursday Adventure: LeConte Canyon, Sierra Nevada

Anyone who knows me won't be surprised if I start off my "Thursday Adventure" series with a pic from my very favorite mountain range: the Sierra Nevada of California.  The Sierra are beautiful, rugged, blessed with extremely mild summer weather, and contain a nearly 200-mile swath of wilderness without a single road (dirt or otherwise).  If you're willing to venture off the big popular trails and do a little trail-less scrambling, it's easy to spend an entire week wandering forbidding cirques and sparkling lakes without seeing another soul.

The geology and topography of the Whitefire Mountains in my novel The Whitefire Crossing are loosely based on the Sierra Nevada (I made them a bit higher and even more rugged, just for fun).  Sometimes I even worked off my memories of specific locations in the Sierra.  For instance, the canyon that my two protagonists struggle to reach when they abandon their trade convoy (Garnet Canyon, in the book), is based on LeConte Canyon, a deep, beautiful canyon in the middle of the Sierra.  My husband and I visited LeConte while on our Sierra High Route trip back in 2003:

Standing at the edge of LeConte Canyon

I still remember standing at LeConte's edge going, "Oh jeez, we have to scramble all the way down there and lose all our hard-won elevation?"  But the aching thigh muscles were worth it: the canyon bottom was a lovely paradise of pine forest and stream-laced meadows under towering cliffs.  We actually didn't climb straight out the other side, as Dev and Kiran do in The Whitefire Crossing - we cheated and used a trail to access Muir Pass to the north.  But one day I want to go back and do a little more off-trail exploring in the area!)

View on the descent into LeConte


3 comments:

  1. The geology and topography of the Whitefire Mountains in my novel The Whitefire Crossing are loosely based on the Sierra Nevada (I made them a bit higher and even more rugged, just for fun).

    Aha!

    Very pretty topography in your pictures. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. No problem, Paul - thanks for visiting (and sharing link on Twitter, G+, etc!).

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  3. I appreciate pretty photos beyond my own (especially things like mountains!) , and this illuminated a bit about TWC. So it was my pleasure.

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