Ales and Trails. Yes, it is as good as it sounds, hiking combined with delicious craft beer from our local brewery.
Combining two of my passions, exploring and photography couldn’t be a better week for me plus savouring tasty beer in the afternoons was a spectacular perk! I set out with the Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides (SYMG), South Gate Brewing Company and twelve guests to a high alpine lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness for a four day backcountry mission. My days consisted of photographing happy hikers, exploring the great outdoors and relaxing to craft brews and gourmet meals in the afternoon.
This was no ordinary backcountry trip. In fact, pack mules brought in ice chests loaded with delicious fresh foods, kegs of beer and camping gear. We hiked in light carrying only what we needed for the day the rest of our gear was waiting for us when we arrived to camp. Our talented guides, Fred and Wilson provided snacks along the way and a wealth of knowledge about the wildlife and fauna around us. We learned the scientific names for trees such as the Lodgepole Pine, or Pinus Contorta, named for its wildly contorted growth patterns. Each year, heavy snowpack pushes the tree one way or another, in the spring it continues to grow up, creating a beautiful and twisted living art piece in the forest.
In addition to leading expeditions through the backcountry, our guides prepared gourmet meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example, the first night we enjoyed a delightful salmon dish artfully prepared to impress the taste buds. Another night we enjoyed shrimp tacos paired with a lime wheat beer specially brewed by South Gate Brewing Company for this trip. For breakfast, my favorite was yogurt with granola topped with chopped walnuts and fresh blueberries.
Enjoying these meals in the backcountry was sublime to say the least. The sight of fresh berries in the early morning next to a steaming cup of coffee, framed by some of the world's most beautiful landscapes delighted me. There is something truly special about enjoying fine food, in a serene setting far from civilization.
I am excited to share a few of the images I captured along the journey. The Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides sure know how to plan a trip. If you ever have the opportunity to sign up for one of their many adventures, I highly recommend it. It is guaranteed to be the experience of a lifetime.