A few weeks back I discovered, quite by accident, a nook of the Sierra I’d never seen before. The accident involved a three-month-old baby who suddenly decided she didn’t feel like camping at 9,000 feet, a hasty retreat from a perfect campsite, a discovery that the nearest town had no hotel vacancies, and a late night drive on Highway 395 in a scramble to book the last hotel room for 100 miles. But then, the next day, Sierra magic where I’d never been before. Just when I thought that nearly two decades of Sierra exploration had revealed just about all of that range’s jewels, boom, here’s another.
The variety of landscape and the sheer size of the range, plus the fact that it’s my home range, makes the Sierra my favorite. And, I’d argue, the best, in terms of beauty and majesty and hiking in the US. But it’s not a slam dunk. The Rockies, hello? There are 100 separate ranges packed into that gorgeous geologic chaos. Crap, maybe they’re my favorite actually. Shoot, then there are the Pyrenees, that Disneyland of cartoonishly perfect mountains. But the Alps are even cooler. The Andes, yeah, those ain’t bad. I keep hearing good things about the Himalaya.
Obviously, one mountain range can’t really be better than others (except the Sierra, which is clearly the best), but we can have our favorites. Maybe because they offer something other mountains don’t, or some of your most cherished memories happened there. So, which range is your favorite?
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Photo: Robert Heiser