California
July 30, 2020

By: Kevin Floerke

The mountains are calling – and you must go

Crystalline lakes in the Yosemite region. (Photo: Kim Lawson, SYMG)

Escape to the mountains that inspired John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams. Experience the unmatched awe of standing among the most massive trees on earth, and sleep under the stars of The High Sierra. California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains are home to some of the most incredible wonders on the planet – and they’re all closer to home than you might imagine. SA Expeditions has launched a new line of pack-supported treks that showcase the very best of the Range of Light in comfort and style. Read on for some of the highlights of these wilderness adventures.

The Sierra Nevadas were my first introduction to mountain life. As a child, my family would escape to Yosemite Valley, Tahoe, and the Giant Sequoias for a break from the traffic and noise of the San Francisco Bay Area. Decades later, and the snow-capped granite peaks of the Sierras still call to generations of wanderers, outdoor enthusiasts, and explorers looking for their next adventure.

It was not until I had traveled far across the planet, summiting peaks and trekking in the famous wildernesses of the world, that I was able to appreciate just how magical the mountains of my youth had been. I now call these mountains home. Living tucked among the big trees and alpine lakes is one of the greatest privileges of my life, so it is with great excitement that I can now share the best of this range with the world. Our team hand-picked these treks as the top experiences available in California’s high country.

The arid landscape of Mt. Whitney's eastern slope. (Photo: Paul Siebert / SYMG)

Summit the Continental US’ Highest Peak, and Walk Among the World’s Most Massive Trees

For those who believe in the mantra “bigger is better”, this is the trek for you. This sweeping Mt. Whitney & Sequoia National Park Trek will take you from the Owens Valley up the eastern slopes of the Sierra to summit Mt. Whitney. At 14,505 feet, Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the Continental United States. After tackling the peak (weather permitting) you’ll be greeted back at camp with a fully prepared lunch made by our first-class wilderness chefs. After a few days traversing the alpine beauty of the high country, including a stint along the famous Pacific Crest Trail, you’ll be treated to a walk among the giants of Sequoia National Park. These ancient trees have to be seen to be believed. Instead of attempting to capture the wonder of standing among them in words, I’ll allow poet laureate Edwin Markham to describe it for you:

“The sequoias belong to the silences of the millenniums. Many of them have seen a hundred human generations rise, give off their little clamors and perish. They seem indeed to be forms of immortality standing here among the transitory shapes of time.”

​​​​​Unbelievable midnight blue hues at Cathedral Lake. (Photo: Elliot Ross / SYMG)

Experience the Very Best of Yosemite’s Wilderness Trails on the Grand Traverse

Yosemite National Park is rightly heralded as one of the most beautiful places on earth. But how do you choose which trails to explore among over 1,000 square miles of natural wonder? We have you covered with the Nine-Day Yosemite Grand Traverse. This highlight reel of a trek takes you from south to north, winding through the most spectacular remote sections of Yosemite National Park.

Named one of the World’s Greatest Treks by National Geographic, perhaps the highlight of the entire experience is camping along the shores of Cathedral Lake. Considered by many local guides to be the most beautiful place in Yosemite, this itinerary allows you to relax and take in both a sunset and a sunrise from your private lakeside campground, truly basking in the serenity of California’s alpine wilderness. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll cap it all off by hiking the famous John Muir Trail into Tuolumne Meadows to complete your perfect Yosemite backcountry experience.

Serious trekking is rewarded with seriously gourmet  feasting. (Photo: Elliot Ross / SYMG)

Discover the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Yosemite’s Best Kept Secret

Perhaps you think you’ve already seen the best Yosemite has to offer … But have you hiked in the Ansel Adams Wilderness? This 232,000-acre wilderness area is lightly trafficked and is best explored with our expert guides, who tailor each trek to your interests and skill level. Want to bag that 10,000+ foot peak? We can get you there. Prefer to soak your tired feet in a pristine alpine lake for the afternoon? We can show you the best spots. This Six-Day Ansel Adams Wilderness Trek allows the discerning trekker to build their own adventure through this remote wilderness, all while enjoying the support of a professional camp team and pack mules.

The Perfect Escape

If, like the rest of us, you’re feeling the need to escape the day-to-day for a rejuvenating adventure, the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California are the answer. Join the generations of explorers who have found their inspiration among the granite walls, towering trees, and crystal blue waters of California’s high country. As trailblazer John Muir famously put it: “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”

Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir answering the call of the mountains. (Photo Library of Congress)

Will you be answering the call? Check out our pack-supported California Treks here. Fancy a road-trip on the side? We offer a wide array of carefully crafted itineraries that take in every corner of the Golden State.

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