Mammoth Mountain, Sierra Nevada, California, October 20th, 2015

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken from Lookout Mountain in the eastern Sierra Nevada, California, October 20th, 2015

While perusing google maps I noticed a broad patch of manzanita with what appeared to be a clear view of Mammoth Mountain to the southwest.

The only problem was that the patch was miles away from the nearest road. With richly textured clouds filling the afternoon sky I set off from my jeep on foot and quickly ran into my first obstacle: snowdrifts from the recent storm we had. I didn’t want my shoes and socks to get soaked so I took them off and barefoot post-holed uphill for about a mile before clearing the drift.

Thankfully the snow numbed my toes a little because the thorny undergrowth was slightly painful. After re-donning my footwear I continued the trudge uphill through grasping branches and face-whipping leaves. Using my compass and Quad15 topo map to navigate I arrived at the patch after about 90 minutes of strenuous hiking, my legs and arms scratched bloody by the foliage.

Just in time for the sunset I quickly set up my camera and tripod and snapped a handful of shots as the horizon lit up in a burst of rosy light. Of course, the beauty of the moment was ample reward for the difficulty of getting to the spot. I even set up my hammock and my tent to better enjoy the view. And the best part of all was that none of this story was even remotely true.

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