Following The Dharma Bums To Matterhorn Peak (Pt. 2)

Matterhorn Peak, CA

Matterhorn Peak is the narrow, pointed peak (3rd from left)

After a good night’s sleep I woke up to a glorious, sunny day filled with fresh air and made my way to Twin Lakes from where you have to start the hike up towards Matterhorn Peak. Driving up the (now paved) road towards Twin Lakes (which is a few miles outside of Bridgeport) felt very good indeed. It’s very likely that the paved road I was driving on is the result of the work taking place that Kerouac describes and prevents him, Ryder and Morley to drive any further and walk next the lakes to the foot of the trail that leads to Matterhorn Peak. The lakes in themselves are gorgeous too, Kerouac describes them as ‘cerulean blue’. I couldn’t resist stopping and sitting down on the edge of the water for a bit – which was lovely, very quiet and I only had a few fisherman and a number of extremely cute chipmunks for company. The west end of Twin Lakes is now occupied by Annett’s Mono Village, which I doubt was there are the time Smith, Ryder and Morley went, so it all probably looked a bit different then. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the ‘big white frame house inn’ either, which might have been torn down since or I simply didn’t see it.

I am (much to my regret) totally quite untrained and totally inexperienced and not equipped for long hiking or even climbing trips, so I quickly had to realise that my original plan to hike to the big boulder next to which Ryder and Smith camped for the night, wasn’t realistic. Nevertheless I started the hike up Horse Creek and in the direction I knew Matterhorn Peak to be. I only hiked for a short while, but it was an absolute pleasure to make that climb, even though what I call climbing here would make any serious mountain climber fall down with laughter. The fresh air, glorious weather and the splendid views down onto the lakes and into the valley were invigorating and lovely to the highest degree. I also understood and felt the urge to climb higher and higher strongly at that moment.

But I had to be content with what I experienced on that day and made my way back to my car. I have to say that the wish to one day tackle that boulder grew very strong during my hike, so I might attempt that eventually, we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted, but don’t count on it.

Luckily, Kerouac has got a few words of comfort for somebody like me, as he writes (in chapter 11): ‘The whole purpose of mountain-climbing to me isn’t just to show off you can get to the top, it’s getting out to this wild country’ which is nice to hear and mirrors my feelings about mountain-climbing too.

For a more serious, and ultimately successful, attempt at climbing Matterhorn Peak, see Thomas Becker’s blog here

Here are a few more impressions from that day.

Twin Lakes, Bridgeport, CA

Twin Lakes

'Look over there,' sang Japhy, 'yellow aspens....'

‘Look over there,’ sang Japhy, ‘yellow aspens….’

Twin_Lakes_Fallen_Snag

‘And over the stream was a perfect bridge formed by a fallen snag…’

Twin Lakes, Bridegport, CA

‘And the way the lake below us soon became a toy lake…’ The road that was being surfaced the day Ray, Japhy and Morley were hiking is on that side of the lake.

 

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