John Muir Trail 1971 first week: Tuollumne Mdw to Reds Meadow Resort

John Muir Trail 1971 first week: Tuollumne Mdw to Reds Meadow Resort

1st week: Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow Resort:

By late afternoon, we had all regrouped and departed from the trailhead near the Tuolumne Meadows campground. We were filled with anticipation of the adventure that lay ahead and yet also trepidation as to whether we (and our equipment) were up to the challenge. There were no cell phones, and many times during the trip we would be as many as 24 hours away from assistance. Read more

John Muir Trail, 1971, Second week, Reds to South Lake

John Muir Trail, 1971, Second week, Reds to South Lake

Second week, JMT 1971

After we got our food supplies at the Reds Meadow Resort food drop we had to pack our trail lunches, which included meat (salted and sliced dried beef ) from a glass jar, a chunk of cheese about 3″ x  2″ x 2″, one chunk per day, peanuts, raisins, candy bar, and iced tea mix. After our experience the first week, a lot of our people were buying extra food such as powdered milk, cereal, French bread, instant pudding, bread mixes for baking, and extra candy for lunches. By 3 PM or so clouds had built up and by 4 PM we were ready to take off. We wanted to get away from Reds Resort a few miles and make camp before it rained. Read more

John Muir Trail, 1971, 3rd week, South Lake to Onion Valley

John Muir Trail, 1971, 3rd week, South Lake to Onion Valley

3rd Week: South Lake to Onion Valley

Conrad and Steve were pissed that the whole group except them had gone down the road to a cafe, and pigged out on wonderful food.  To make it up to them they were promised a free breakfast and shower at the café the next morning, but they still felt betrayed. I guess if we were thinking we would have brought them something the night before. God it was good to be full of good food. What a peaceful sleep we had! Read more

JMT Food Plan

JMT Food Plan

Doing the JMT is easy.  Selecting the gear is easy if you have been backpacking some.  The hard part is logistics and choosing and packing food, which is the subject of this post.  For our 2016 JMT, we had a 7 day section that we’d start with seven days of food in our packs from Cottonwood.  We’d meet up with horse packers at Charlotte Lake and get another 7 days worth of food, which would last us to Muir Trail Ranch. There we would pick up 4 days worth of food to get us to Red’s Meadow.  There we’d pick up 3 days of food to get us to your exit point, Tuollumne Meadows. Read more

The Sawtooth High Route

The Sawtooth High Route

We got to experience another trip in the Sawtooths this August.  Joining my wife Tuckie and I were daughters Ciera and Laura, Laura’s boyfriend Jason, and long time hiking buddy Kevin and his lovely wife Suzanne. Kevin and Suzanne got a head start as we were delayed by detours caused by the Pioneer fire.  They hiked toward Toxaway lake the first day, and we 5 (shown below) started the next day. Read more

JMT 2016 Gear List

JMT 2016 Gear List

My gear is ever changing, but for the JMT hike it was pretty similar to this group of gear.  This photo is Jim’s gear, which includes the tent we shared.  I carried the stove and cookset.  We both carried solar panels and batteries, also bear canisters, chairs, and similar clothes.  The base weight (gear in the pack, but no food, fuel or water) of my stuff was just shy of 20 lbs.  If you figure 2 lbs of food per day, on the stretches when we carried 7 days worth of food, my max weight would be 34 lbs, plus 16 oz for fuel, and one liter of water. Read more

John Muir Trail, 2016: Preparation

John Muir Trail, 2016: Preparation

I guess preparation for hiking the whole 220 miles of the JMT started about 7 months before the start of the hike.  At that time I had to figure out an itinerary and how many days I would commit to the hike. You need an itinerary because when you apply for a permit you have to specify where you will camp each night.  Once you start on the trip, you can camp anywhere, but for the permit you need an itinerary. Read more

Using the Mask feature of Photoshop for better exposure

Using the Mask feature of Photoshop for better exposure

Monarchs of Colchuck Lake

Marc Dilley of Marc Dilley Photography showed me a technique in Photoshop which is advanced for me, easy for him.  Here is how Marc uses the Mask feature.

(Marc) I am using this image of Colchuck Lake in the Cascade Mountains of Washington to discuss some basic elements of exposure, composition and how those two field skills relate to processing an exposure (or, in this case, two exposures). Read more

Alice Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooths

Alice Toxaway Loop in the Sawtooths

This loop hike in the Sawtooths is a classic, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.  I got to visit the area with the Fujino family, friends from when our boys were in scouts together.  Starting at Petit Lake, we hiked over the hot dry hill to join the Hell Roaring trail, and from there on past Farley Lake, to a small lake just short of Toxaway Lake.   There is a great waterfall at this little lake, and we enjoyed a restful evening there. Read more

My Preferred Cooksets and Stove System

My Preferred Cooksets and Stove System

I’m on about the 4th Caldera cone cooking system, and maybe the 10th stove I’ve used overall, so I thought I’d share what is the best of all the stoves I’ve used in 45+ years of backpacking.  The Fusion Sidewinder Ti-Tri split cone stove system, made by Trail Designs, the maker of Caldera Cone stove systems. The Ti-Tri refers to the wind screen being made of TItanium, and the stove having the capability to use three different fuels: alcohol, esbit, and wood.

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Building a Snow Trench for Winter Camping

Building a Snow Trench for Winter Camping

If you are camping in the winter, a shelter made of snow is tremendously warmer than sleeping in a tent. Different types of snow allow different kinds of snow structures to be built.  One very practical shelter for when the snow is deep is a snow trench.  How much time you have, if a storm is expected, and if you are going to set up a base camp are considerations.  A covered snow trench can made in a couple of hours, and protect you from 40 below temperatures. Read more

Sierra Nevada, Thousand Island Lake

Sierra Nevada, Thousand Island Lake

We had a family backpack in which wife Tuckie, son Jim and girlfriend Jenna, myself, daughter Laura, Kevin Anderson and his daughter Jenna, and my old hiking partner Conrad participated.  The destination for the first day was Thousand Island Lake, in the Mammoth area.  We were reminded of how out of shape we were as we struggled up the dusty trail on a hot day, bound for 10,000′ Thousand Island Lake.

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