Fourth of July, Korean Style – Part Two

“Can you hike?” My Uncle asked. “I mean, really hike?”

“Uh, yeah, I can hike.”

“Yeah — but for how long?”

“I guess as long as necessary.” I think my Uncle was challenging me and I was involuntarily accepting it.

My Uncle doubted whether I could handle a long hike because I didn’t own a pair of decent boots. However, in preparation for the Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop, I invested in real boots to morph into a bona fide hiker.

“How long is this hike?” I asked as we drove to the trail.

“About 3.5 to 4 hours.” My Uncle had completed this trail a few times before. In fact, he did this trail as part of a 10-mile hike in previous years. I didn’t expect such a long hike and wondered what I’d be doing during that time, other than walking.

The family reached the trailhead and my Dad and Butters waited near the car. Dogs were not allowed on the trail. And since my Dad is disabled, he can’t walk long distances, let alone climb a steep hiking trail so I set up a beach chair for him overlooking the lake.

My Uncle and Aunt were well prepared in UVA/UVB shirt and pants, topped off with hats and carried walking sticks. My Uncle, complete with a bear whistle attached to his backpack, led the way followed by my Aunt, me and Mom.

The rocks crushed under my green boots as I made my ascent. I looked at the lake below, with mountains facing east and made a note to come back and catch the sunrise.

The trail was mostly easy-going. There were some rocky parts but my hiking boots and my legs held up. The difficult part was the heat. It was unusually warm for Lake Tahoe.

This was my first time hiking with Mom. In all the years living in San Francisco, instead of taking family vacations to Disneyland or Hawaii during the summer, my brother and I helped Mom and Dad at their souvenir store. When the Fourth of July came around, shorts-wearing tourists browsed through our shop to buy souvenirs: tangible reminders of their family holiday in a city we called home. My Mom tallied the pens, magnets and postcards, scribbled the total on a yellow carbon copy receipt, collected money and handed the bag over to the family’s Dad.

On this day in Lake Tahoe, I was impressed by my Mom’s ability to keep up with the professional hikers (aka Aunt and Uncle) before us. The hike lasted three hours. We walked along the shaded trail, following the curve of the lake. I leaned toward the dusty mountain when the trail narrowed. I held out my hand for Mom when she needed stability. I followed my Uncle’s lead as we made our descent toward the sandy beach area.

Sometimes, when I had the chance, I ventured ahead and I captured moments that will remind me of our (delayed) family vacation.

Photos taken with Fujifilm Finepix X100 (Not edited.)

2 replies »

    • My uncle would love to visit Yosemite…but he needs recommendations on where to camp…do you have any? 🙂

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