On September 6th 2011, I stood on the summit of White Mountain Peak.

White Mountain Peak by Jonathan Lamb

I could see Nevada to the east and the Owen’s Valley thousands of feet down to the west.  Across the deep valley rose the insanely steep eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.  Mike Park and I had started up this mountain at 10am.  After 7 miles of trail, which grew increasingly steep and volcanic, we stood in the sun, at the summit (14,252 ft).  As we enjoyed the view, an AMERICAN KESTREL buzzed by us at breakneck speed.  The bird did not flap once.  Within seconds, it was miles away.  It was amazing.

On the way down, Mike and I talked about Summit Birding on a lark.  Only the most hardcore birders would hike 14 miles to get an American Kestrel on their 14000′+ list!  Of course this website is not solely dedicated to Summit Birding but rather, it will chronicle my search for that moment of affirmation.  The moment when everything clicks.  The moment when an American Kestrel buzzes you at 14000′, or when you stumble upon a sleeping Spotted Owl, or even when your faithful Anna’s Hummingbird returns to the feeder.  For me, this moment is often found outdoors when birdwatching and hiking, but sometimes I find it just in my backyard or even in a moment of silence.  I hope to share information, photographs, and stories that I gather along the way.  New information, stories, and adventures will be posted on my blog. Also make sure to check out the guides to my favorite birding spots and trip reports.

All photos on this website are property of me, Noah Gaines, unless stated otherwise.  If you would like to use any of these photos, please contact me at NoahGaines@gmail.com.

Thank you for visiting!

“If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event – and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified, and affirmed.” Nietzsche, Friedrich