Friday, October 23, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Dave is currently creating a Blue-Ray DVD of our adventure as well. Will you see us sometime soon? If so, you might enjoy the DVD version.
What's next? Well, climbing Half Dome in September with Alexa and Eric. But, that's not what you had in mind is it? Here are our top picks for upcoming adventures. Click on 'Comment' below to let us know your vote (you can be anonymous if you please):
2. The GR 20 Route in Corsica. Click here for a brief description.
4. Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route through Northern Spain
6. A Galactic Experience, Click here
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Gone are the perfectly still nights, feeling like you might be the only people to experience an incredible view, and a star filled sky to enjoy just before you fall asleep. We were continually amazed that we could look so far in the distance at a mountain and then hike over it that same day. Today, walking to Peets, we looked at the hills of Skyline Blvd and decided we could definitely walk there before lunch!
Gone also are freeze-dried dinners, beef jerky, mosquitoes, sleeping on a leaking Thermarest and hiking through 4-5 thousand feet of elevation change in one day while carrying a 40-50 pound pack! We're enjoying Peets, bathroom visits that don't involve an orange hand shovel, Super Taqueria, Fish and NON-INSTANT rice, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs from free range chickens, homemade fresh sourdough bread and pungent cheeses.
We're working through the photos and will have them posted in the next few days. There will also be a slide show complete with our personal commentary if you live close by and would like to hear about the trip in person!
Monday, July 27, 2009
To make this just a little worse, only hours after we finished the hike, minutes after an initial scrubbing and even before searching for food, we set off for the post office. It was 100 degrees outside, Beth was delirious, looked at the map, and directed that we walk. 20 minutes later, when we found the sign proclaiming "0.5 miles to Yosemite Village", she almost sat down on the spot, a dirty, dusty path. We were tired, hungry, and hot. You get the picture. Then, 100 yards from the post office, Beth had an epiphany. It was Sunday. Little did we know the package we desperately sought wasn't even in the closed post office--we'd have to wait until 8:30 this morning to be disappointed again. It was pretty much the only logistical oversight of the trip, but still... It was hard to accept. Even now, we sit here and type in our sandy, dusty, sappy, saggy, shall we say, stinky, trail shorts.
We'd be sitting here in equally filthy hiking shirts, socks, and boots, had it not been for the pizza place next to the closed post office, where we shared a large artichoke heart and tomato pizza, with a 3 scoop cookies and cream appetizer. Our predicament became somewhat clearer after the pizza--we bought flip flops and t-shirts from the clearance rack (everything in Yosemite Valley is overpriced). Beth's t-shirt is drab green with an image of a trailer on the front.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Here's a picture of them at the very end of their trip. They sounded safe and happy on the phone. I'm leaving with Eric to get them on Tuesday morning at 6 AM.
Update from Dave & Beth: Can you guess the location of this photo? It was our campsite on the last night. We took the photo right before we started our hike down into the valley.
Hint: Somehwere in the photo is a well known Yosemite landmark. Psst...look on the right.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Need to unpack our resupply box, refill our bear cans and send home some gear that we don't need (lighter packs!) so we can go out for the last 8 days. Our goal for the next night is Virginia Lake. We've heard the mosquitoes aren't quite so bad there and we know that the lake is beautiful. Hopefully some of our photos will show a little of the beauty of Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Trees grow straight up out of granite, birds soar in the breezes, flowers, grasses, butterflies...amazing. If I were to take the trip again and attempt a photographic theme, it would be to show how life finds a way to succeed.
It's more dramatic than seeing crab grass find it's way through a space in the concrete and it often seems to be on a large scale. For example, we were looking across a river canyon to a wall of granite and there was a patch of 4 large pines growing straight toward the sky, surrounded by snow. It seemed that there was nothing to support them and I wondered how they managed to begin to grow there. Photographing these suprising examples is difficult, but we've made an attempt.
When we climbed Mt Whitney (Dave doesn't look so happy in that photo, but he did enjoy our trip up to the top!), just before we took our final steps to the summit, I looked down at the step and saw two ladybugs. Ladybugs? How did they get there? They were alive and moving (Dave tried to tell me they were dead and someone had carried them there...). I've seen them again on a couple other peaks as well.
Friday, July 17, 2009
We're not kidding about the mosquitoes. Last night we camped near the Bear Creek crossing (40 yds of knee deep wading, with packs on, in water only a little warmer than the snow, with mosquitoes everywhere. We inhaled several. Some time after we setup camp this couple walked down the trail, just 50 feet from our tent, and in the middle of a granite slab, had a complete mosquito meltdown. She started jumping up and down, threw her hiking poles, swatting herself like she'd gone mad, yelling and screaming, and he followed suit. He also dropped his pack and reached for the bug spray. She was swatting him, spraying DEET everywhere, it was mayhem. Next, the tent comes out of nowhere, right in the middle of the granite slab, and they both dove in. None of this is a joke. It was not safe out there. I've never seen people hike with mosquito nets (normally just moving along is enough to keep them at bay), but today we saw a number of hikers in full raingear and nets. We wore them, too.
But now, we're at what they call a resort. It's mostly a trailer park where most everything is broken. This laptop has no 'c' keycap, for example. And the washer doesn't work. But how about this: while we were enjoying meatloaf and a bottle of wine, it rained for 30 minutes, buckets of rain, thunder and lightening. We were dry, sitting under an awning that only leaked a little, watching ESPN (Tiger missed the cut), saving room for 2 pieces of apple pie with ice cream. Our biggest problem now is whether we'll have the biscuits and gravy and/or the breakfast burrito in the morning.
Wish we could find a way to show you some of the photos from the trip. We're really having fun. Beth was not kidding when she named this blog "... Adventure". I don't know how she knew...
More tomorrow. Beth is sitting here so I can't tell you about how much she ate, and the manner in which she ate it. Wowsa.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
An early June snow storm left 4 feet of snow on Whitney and the 4 passes around 12,000 feet have all had snow. We realized that the impact of snow was going to result in a delay in reaching our resupply, so we started rationing food and made good use of the extra soybutter we had packed for emergencies. Last night's dinner was amusing to say the least. We made it to resupply and will post more coordinates of our campsites below.
Here are some anecdotes:
Dave has a zero degree sleeping bag and a thick Thermarest. I have a 15 degree bag and a thinner Thermarest that leaks (saving me a total of 1 pound in weight to carry). I shiver at night. Dave doesn't even have to zip his sleeping bag.
Dave falls in streams
The mosquitoes are often so thick that we inhale them, swallow them and swat them all at the same time
The water coming down the rivers and in the lakes is clear so that you can see spots on the rocks many feet down.
Last night was the first night we set up camp before the sun was setting.
Because of the challenges of the trip so far, we may adjust our plan to stick to the main trail instead of taking the high route.
Friday, July 10, 2009
My grandpa talked to Dave and Beth yesterday morning, and it sounds like they are still doing well. They ran out of toothpaste though! They should get another resupply package in about a week, so I guess they'll just have to rough it until then. It is a mountain adventure, after all.
My grandpa also made this nifty map using GPS coordinates my dad reported to him.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
really really cold. Still looking.... Only one nail clipper, one
chapstick each. Do we really need to fill both of those fuel
containers? Don't forget the tent. It's there, in the background on
driving from sea level to 10,000 feet to camp in a single day?
Here she is, confused, thinking she's back in the Amazon. I said,
"It's okay, honey. No anacondas and no piranhas out here", but she
wouldn't listen. She just sat there, in the Prius, dazed.
Good thing she's about to drive home soon. Lone Pine is 30 min down
the mountain and 6,000 feet lower.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
lighting and iPhone zoom constraints, the better background choice is
the motel. Those of you who have hiked Whitney have probaby stayed at
the Dow Villa.
Now, equipped with 100 lbs of gear and a large pizza, we're headed up
to the trailhead and out of coverage. Maybe we can get Alexa to post a
photo of our first steps into the wilderness tomorrow. And hopefully
overnight we'll decide to leave 20 lbs of stuff in the car before we go.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
There are two days planned to be exceptionally short. One at the start to assist in acclimating to the altitude and the second during our off-trail adventure with following the Sierra High Route to give an opportunity to enjoy the solitude of the off-trail environment.
1: Cottonwood Lakes w/ Alexa
2: ? Rock Creek or Cottonwood Lakes
3: Rock Creek
4: Guitar Lake (right below Mt. Whitney)
5: Crabtree Meadow or Bighorn Plateau (We climb Mt. Whitney today!)
6: Bighorn or Tyndall Creek Frog Ponds
7: Upper Vidette Meadow
8: Onion Valley (where we meet 'Bob' to pick up our resupply box) or just before Kearsarge Pass
9: 60 Lakes (near Rae Lakes)
10: Sawmill Pass Junction (cross a huge suspension bridge)
11: Upper Basin after King's River Crossing
12: Big Pete Meadow or Starrs Camp (Amazing views)
13: Evolution Meadow?
14: Muir Trail Ranch (pick up resupply bucket)
15: Bear Ridge Trail Junction
16: Vermillion Valley Resort (a shower! laundry!)
17: Leave JMT to do a portion of the Sierra High Route. Stay at Laurel Lake Trail Junction
18: Bighorn Lake
19: Izaak Walton Lake
20: Deer Lake
21: Red's Meadow (resupply, have a meal at their 'restaurant')
22: Garnet Lake
23: Donohue Pass/Lyell Canyon
24: Cathedral Lake
25: Sunrise Lake (climb Cloud's Rest)
26: Curry Village (go climb Half Dome?)
28: Go Home!
Since this whole trip seems to focus on minimizing (weight, size, number), we decided to minimize our need for personal care. Ryan was thrilled to assist with this plan. He arrived with his clippers and the idea that a mohawk would be the perfect style. We all had a good chuckle at Dave's expense and Ryan eventually decided that a #3 all the way around would also be acceptable.
As for my minimizing, my hairdresser was happy to shorten my hair. Rinsing it in a lake will be simple. The downside? It seems to be the perfect length to create quite a display without the assistance of a straightener and blow dryer. Picture this:
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I'm enjoying time with a good friend in Bear Valley for my final preparation. A little elevation change, definitely some hiking (my pack and boots are in the truck), a run and good company. Perfect.
How is Dave preparing this weekend?He'll also be at a higher elevation and carrying something on his back. But, not his backpack. Maybe he'll post a photo?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I've been using my homemade solar battery chargers on backpacking trips for 5 or 6 years. This year's solar panel (bottom left) is flexible, lighter, and more efficient. It's working with Beth's lithium camera batteries (for her Canon SLR), and there's also a USB port for, well, for, umm, say, an iPod.
The $35 panel is rated to deliver 200mA at 7.2V. In the backyard it pumps 60-90mA into the battery, which has a capacity of 1400 mAh. The sun's intensity at altitude is significantly higher. We'll carry 2 batteries--One in the camera and the other in the charger while we hike, then switch the next day. Since camera memory is cheap (we'll have 10 GBytes), and since we'll have unlimited solar power, we'll be able to take photos like crazy. And if it's cloudy and rainy the whole trip, who wants to take pictures anyway?
The panel is secured to that part of my pack which fits on top of the main pack. Tuck the battery in the pack, flip the switch, and let the chemical reactions begin.
Walked out into the garage and noticed this, Latrodectus hesperus, hanging out on the washing machine.
There's a basket of my (clean) underwear and socks next to the washer. Maybe that's where she was headed. Creepy. Maybe her family has already made a home in one of my socks. I think I'll wash that load again. Extra hot water.
This web site contains info about what to do if bitten by a Black Widow.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Dave learned that treatment of any or all of the following would be most uncomfortable:
Root canal infection (he did that in Bhutan)
Frostbite (rapid rewarming is preferable)
Riding out on a mule with a broken ankle
So, we will avoid anything that might hurt.
We weighed everything; a total of 97 items. Here are some of the items and weights:
Necessary for Survival:
- EPiRB: 5 ounces
- 1 Litre H20: 2.13 pounds (we'll carry 2-3 each)
- Stove w/ wind screen: 9.75 ounces
- Headlamp: 2.75 ounces
- Solar Panel (practical more than luxurious: camera battery charging): 4 ounces
- Stuff Sack with Fleece Liner that can be made into a pillow (also practical, we need stuff sacks to organize things in our packs): 2.25 ounces
- Quick Dry Towel: 2 ounces
- Rubber Tips for Trekking Poles (Safety Item for climbing over granite): 0.75 ounces
- Cup: 2.5 ounces
- Pot (1 Litre, Titanium): 7.75 ounces
- Tent: 5 pounds
- Large Black Garbage Bag (pack rain cover): 1.75 ounces
Now it's time to pack the last resupply box. This one is mailed to the Vermillion Valley Resort (click here) We thought about skipping this resupply location to save some time and then came to our senses. We'll take a ferry to the 'Resort', enjoy the first shower of the trip, do laundry and have a meal that is not freeze dried. It will be less than 24 hours, but worth more than every minute of it.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The John Muir Trail is highlighted in yellow. The trips we have planned off-trail are in orange. You must play around by tilting the view, and spin around in 3D--you can often see the trail and you can see almost every tree. You can fly the entire hike as if you were in a hang glider. There's a marker in that file called 'Cottonwood Lake Trailhead', that's where we'll be going in. From there you can follow the path all the way to Yosemite Valley.
If you have a fast connection, in Tools/Options slide the Terrain Quality to the highest level. Right below the Terrain Quality slider is the Elevation Exaggeration field. Type in 2 or 2.5 so it looks more dramatic.
If you don't use Google Earth, you should give it a try. Go here and download the desktop application. Incredible. Really.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
That's 26 pounds of food for two people for 6 days. Here's the menu:
Cold Granola w/ dried fruit
Cold Granola w/ dried fruit
Oatmeal w/ Apple Gorp
Oatmeal w/ Apple Gorp
Tortilla w/ cheese
Tortilla w/ cheese
Crackers w/ tuna
Crackers w/ tuna
DINNER Dave (6)
Lasagna w/ meat sauce Lasagna w/ meat sauce
Hearty beef stew 800 cal
Mexican Style Rice and chicken
Kung Pao Chicken
Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
Mac and cheese
DINNER Beth(6) Lasagna w/ meat sauce Lasagna w/ meat sauce
Hearty beef stew 800 cal
Jamaica BBQ Chicken
Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
Mac and cheese
And now, a short explanation of some foods named above:
Logan Bread: Dave has used this 'solid' home-made bread to play a tune on his golf club. One inch thick, lots of whole wheat flour, dried fruit and nuts. Calorie packed. Did I mention density? It took two of us to lift the pan out of the oven!
Quesadilla: Whole Wheat Tortillas with cheese (we found some that doesn't have to be refrigerated...we think)
Tortilla Fajitas: I know, you're wondering how we're going to keep bears away when our fajitas are sizzling over an open fire. Well, imagine this: Pieces of delicious, flavorful Beef Jerky wrapped in a tortilla. Full stop. No sizzling, bell peppers, onions, salsa (or bears).
Snacks: There are many and they're not listed above. Nuts, dried fruit, Clif bars etc.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Boiled, salted, dried flank steak. We made it. That's not a white balance problem - it really is that color. Gray.
Let us know and we'll send you some to taste. It's supposed to last 10 weeks. We could even send you some of the leftovers after we get back. Indestructible, that's what they say about that boiled beef. Other uses: tent repair, blister treatment, chewing gum, who knows?
Beef jerky, 2 flavors. One Moroccan spice, the other BBQ. At least the color makes it look more like food.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We'll re-fill our bear can (click here), hike the 9 miles back to the trail and continue North on the JMT. This resupply box will have 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 6 dinners.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Something went wrong with the carrots. They were not expecting to be left in the oven all night, but that's what happened. It wasn't anybody's fault. Well, maybe Beth forgot them...
In case something goes terribly wrong on our hike, if we desperately need help and we can't get out of the wilderness ourselves, we'll have one of these with us:
This Personal Location Beacon, when activated, will transmit our GPS coordinates to a satellite network used for search and rescue.
I don't mean to make light of the safety issue. It will be comforting to know that if we're off the main trail and something goes wrong we'll be able to call for help.
These devices have recently been getting smaller and lighter--the one we bought was released a couple of months ago. Only 5 1/2 oz.
More detail here.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Elevation Profile is above the whiteboard with our first idea of where we'll sleep each night. Click the image above for more detail.
Some might remember the time I discovered that I had a nickname at college...what can I say? Whiteboards are amazing. I use them to make lists and color is important. In college, I found it such an effective study tool that my frequent use of the whiteboard resulted in a nickname. Perhaps I shouldn't have carried it to the library and class? Or maybe it was that time I took it to dinner?
When I walked into Dave's house for the first time and saw a large whiteboard on the wall with many colors of markers available (I shouldn't leave out the effective eraser), there was nothing else I needed to know...