After checking out the Lake Tahoe region, we decided to mix up our climbing type a bit and try out some sport climbing and bouldering in the Eastern Sierra. We took a scenic drive south on highway 395 to the Owens River Gorge.
On our last day climbing in the Gorge we got a call from home with sad news. Joanna’s grandmother had passed away that morning.
There are many things I could say about the strong, independent, and caring woman that my wonderful grandma was. I am grateful to have had almost 29 years with her in my life. When Steve and I were planning this trip I was scared of telling her our plans. Living in Boston was further away than my grandmother wanted me, so I figured she would not be happy about us embarking across the country. Instead she was excited about this life experience we were about to embark on. She shared that before my grandfather got sick, she had dreams of buying a mobile home and travelling across the country. That dream unfortunately did not happen; instead, she was happy to live vicariously through our journey. You will be greatly missed Grandma.
We celebrated Grandma Sweetgall’s life by checking out a natural hot spring in Mammoth. What was intended as a 1-2 hour decompression session quickly turned into 5+ hours. We watched the sun set giving way to a beautiful night sky complete with more shooting stars than either of us have ever seen.
The next morning Boris’ starter issues culminated with a no start morning. A few days earlier we had bought a spare starter, knowing ours was on its way out. Steve installed the new starter and we were on our way to meet some friends in the Buttermilks for the weekend.
We intended on camping near Mono Lake before heading to San Francisco so Joanna could fly home to be with family. However, the weather had other plans. A storm was heading to the Sierras so we decided to drive west across the mountains that night. Most mountain passes were closed already so we went north to Highway 50 and made it as far as our campsite back near Lover’s Leap. We woke up to a frozen world, officially going from summer weather in The Buttermilks to winter weather in Lover’s Leap overnight.