Sierra Session: Atop the Range of Light

Trip length
12 days
11 - 17
Thursday, July 7 - Monday, July 18

From early morning swimming in a frigid creek to hiking past flower-studded lakes to the highest peak in the area, the Camp Chrysalis Sierra session is an ideal introduction to experiencing the mountains.

We base our camp by Packer Creek in the Tahoe National Forest, near a warm pond for swimming. We explore the ecology of the beaver marsh, practice archery, and enjoy an intense evening in a homemade sweat-lodge.

We hike farther as we acclimatize: first in leisurely tours through a wonder of wildflowers, then along a chain of beautiful -- and swimmable -- lakes. Finally, we climb to the wind-blown crest of the Sierra Buttes -- an ideal setting to investigate the geologic history of the Sierra.

The hiking is challenging, but not arduous. Older campers seeking additional challenges can hike to the Buttes Crest from base camp, a 14 mile hike climbing almost 3,000 feet.

At the end of the session, we take our packs, sleeping-bags, and kitchen gear, and set off on a gentle backpacking trip for three days, camping and playing beside a small mountain lake. Here we take time to experience the stillness of the backcountry, watching a dragonfly metamorphose or gazing at the Milky Way.