Thursday, July 30, 2009


It happened. We returned to the noise, constant movement and highly distractible environment of daily life. And, two dented cars. Alexa hit something with the Prius (Ryan pretty much fixed it before we came home) and my car was involved in a hit and run on a quiet Los Gatos street (I don't think Ryan will be able to fix this one)...What a contrast!

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


There are several different levels of cleanliness. Currently, we are in Yosemite and mostly clean. We would be closer to actually clean if the box that we mailed to Yosemite Village containing clean underwear, shirts, t-shirts, shorts, socks and shoes had not been returned to sender by the Yosemite post office. For reasons we have yet to understand, the Yosemite post office only holds general delivery mail for half the length of time of any other post office in the United States. They mailed it back to us when we at 12,000 feet slogging through the mile of snow on Muir Pass.

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

GPS Update

We talked to the new adventurers on Saturday, July 25. They gave us most recent GPS coordinates and reported they are doing fine and on schedule. From their last reported position on Friday July 24, they were on Toulomne Meadows, about 18 miles from Half Dome.

Almost Done (Updated)

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

Mile 199 / 254

Just talked to Dave and Beth yesterday--they are still having a fantastic time. They hiked through intense thunderstorms to reach mile 199 out of 254. Eric and I are going to pick them up next week. My dad requested that I have the final round of the British Open on DVD ready for him. Beth is craving some pho. Almost time for them to come home!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Updated GPS Map

Here is a new map that my grandpa updated, complete with coordinate positions. Looks great, Grandpa!

254 Miles

We realized that our hike out to resupply in Onion Valley was not included in our initial mileage calculation of 240 total miles. We're currently at mile 175 of 254. That looks quite impressive as I type it. And, now it makes sense to me why I found myself eating more than Dave for dinner (he really wants to tell that story), a box of Cheez-Its, Apple Pie, Ice's been 175 miles since I've had a 'real' meal!

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.

Life Above 10,000 Feet

How life survives above 10,000 ft has been one of the most interesting parts of the trip for me.

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

3rd Resupply

We made it to our 3rd resupply. It was a 10 mile hike through mosquito infested swamps to reach Lake Edison. At 4:45, right on time, a pontoon boat they call a ferry came to pick us up, along with 20 other hungry and smelly hikers. The boat pulled up to a dock half submerged--Beth almost wouldn't baord, but I told her there might be meatloaf.

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

Snow, Snow, Snow

Our trip is now halfway completed and it has been beautiful, challenging, frightening at times and amazing. The crampons saved us on two of the passes (would have really helped on a third, but we didn't have them until our Onion Valley resupply). Wait until you see the photos. Traversing across steeply sloped snow fields was not our idea of a summer hike.

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

No toothpaste!

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.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The mountain adventurers called me from the mountains this morning--they are having a great time. Sounds like they were on top of Mount Whitney on the 5th, and have since been hiking through some serious snow. They are going to receive their first re-supply package soon. Hope I receive some pictures to post soon!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Last chance to sort stuff

We decided to leave a few pounds of extra clothes. Hope it doesn't get
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
the left.

Alexa's altitude sickness

Woke up with a splitting headache at 3 am. What does she expect,
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.


And then they went!

I said goodbye to them at this sign. I will keep the blog updated with
any news I get from them.


It will fit, it will fit, it will fit

And, it did! 7 days of food in these two cans. Doesn't mine look
smaller? Don't let the size fool you - it weighs just as much as the
large can!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lone Pine

Alexa drove us here. Beth and Alexa can see Mt. Whitney, but due to
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.

Is this Mt. Whitney?