While Los Angeles in July is choking on its own dust, Tuolumne Meadows seems still to be basking in spring. Under clear, smog-free blue skies, we hiked up the John Muir Trail to one of the Cathedral Lakes. After passing stands of lodgepole pine,we emerged into this breathtaking field of lavender lupine, meandering streams and randomly strewn boulders left by a glacier long since melted away. It sounds corny, but I actually wondered if this is what heaven looks like. I don’t know if it was the altitude or the exhaustion, but I was so startled by the beauty, I teared up. We had trail mix and beef jerky by the cold, clear lake, watching a marmot watch us a few feet away. Of course, we were not the only ones having lunch. Mosquitoes blithely ignored the clip-on Off! doodad I was using to ward off bugs and gave me five amazingly itchy welts.