PERSPECTIVES can be tricky. The same landscape seen from different viewpoints can be quite different. For instance, the rocky Sierra Buttes dominate the Pacific Rim skyline and complete this perfect alpine scene. Would the view from those craggy peaks be equally dramatic? Let's find out...
Of course, no reward is worthy unless you work for it, and the Buttes trail was no exception. The route requires lots of water, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes, and fortunately there are plenty of meadows, forest groves, and inspiring viewpoints to interrupt the arduous journey.
Colorful wildflowers nourished by the late seasonal rains lay abundantly at our feet. The paintbrush, liles, clover, flowering mustard and lush grass were abuzz with butterflies, bees, and birds. A perfect distraction.
We eventually came to the foot of the crags, a stone fortress that capped the very top, and prepared to ascend the magma remains that pierced the earth's surface eons ago. For many visitors the true adventure begins here. That last climb was barren and steep, and we could definitely feel the affects of the light air at 8,500 feet.
I didn't count the final steps but there were many, and those sturdy steel stairs made the final ascent much easier than clambering over boulders. Fortunately the lookout station was solidly anchored at the edge of the precipice so it could accommodate the several visitors that joined us as we enjoyed our lunch and the view -- which was incredible! A great time to check my altimeter and confirm that we were in nose bleed territory.
A pioneer registry carved in a rock dated back to the 1880's, well before the fire lookout was built (1915). The station is now occupied only during the peak fire season due to its remote location, but a visit here any day is well worth the trip!
We took advantage of the clear weather to linger awhile and absorb the scene from a new vantage point -- a bird's eye view to the distant horizons. It was exciting to enjoy the lake basin from here. A great hike for sure.
Mountain weather can change fast so we kept an eye out for dark thunderclouds. Sierra storms develop quickly and can become dangerous to anyone on this exposed precipice, so we reluctantly headed back down to safer ground. But you must admit this "natural high" was a great place to spend a birthday! And get a new perspective on life...