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Climbing Sierra Point

Emily Pullen


Climbing Sierra Point (an unmarked trail with a foretold “insane view”) began with loose directions from Christopher, our new friend at the mountaineering store. They included trees down, talus fields(?) & matted ground. He ended with, “I set up some cairns on my last trip – just look for those.”

We climbed over boulders & wandered through the woods for a half hour before discovering the first pile of promised rocks. “CAIRN!” we shouted. Our success in finding these consecutive stacks kept us going, but legitimate concern played a heavy hand as our accession into the heavens proved steep, treacherous & void of any other humans. Breaks were taken, pep talks were given & brave bones were called on. 

As we rounded the final corner, an involuntary cheer of delight could be heard high above the valley floor. Majestic mountains kissed a blue sky as wispy white clouds danced in harmony with the rustle & chirp of the trees & birds. A defining picture of congruency filled every frame.

Days after our descent, I realized an interesting thing happened when we set our intentions on things above. Every step, albeit strenuous & unsure, was preparing for us a joy that would have been incomplete had it been handed to us on low, solid, & safe ground. C.S. Lewis writes, "When we are lost in the woods the sight of a signpost is a great matter. He who first sees it cries, "Look!" The whole party gathers round & stares. But when we have found the road & are passing signposts every few miles, we shall not stop & stare." These tiny piles of rocks didn't make the climb any easier, but the act of seeking to find kept our eyes wide for a signal that the way was right – it turned our gaze outward & removed us from being the answer. To be sure, the walk is not without hard & unknown, but the call to go & grow is not in vain. It is an invitation to stand amazed by the grace of our way-maker, who promises to meet us in weakness & remind us of the worthy destination that lies ahead. 

Last week, my brothers & their lovely ladies also headed to Yosemite & after sharing my experience with them, they decided to attempt the hike to Sierra Point as well. Despite it taking them twice as long (sorry, I’m still a little competitive😬), they made it & seeing their picture from the top of the very same point doubled my sister-sized heart. Nothing ushers in delight quite like a shared experience of joy.