I was recently driving north on Hwy 395 on my way home after spending Thanksgiving in Southern California. I have walked this route countless times, crossing the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada from the mountains to the ocean and back again. The sight never gets old.
As an earthling, I sometimes struggle to grasp the full magnitude of the planet’s most extensive features, like this 400-mile-long mountain range. That’s why I love maps, because they help me visualize and connect to things that are so much bigger than me, on a scale that is hard to imagine otherwise. This is why I fell in love with rock climbing, as climbing smooth granite and volcanic rock with holes was a way to experience all the textures and characteristics of different types of rocks. This is also why Hwy 395 is my all-time favorite route, as it offers such a spectacular, holistic, and panoramic view of some of the highest mountains in the country, including Mount Whitney, with its peak towering at 14,505 feet above sea level. Isn’t it crazy that a person could see the highest mountain of the Lower 48 from the front seat of a car going 60 miles an hour on a freeway, so many miles below the summit?