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SHR me and the muir hut

Sierra High Route Part 2: Taboose Pass to Piute Pass

Day 1: Taboose Pass to Taboose Pass

August 16th. I started the day having leftover apple pie, cinnamon rolls, and fresh hot coffee with LoveNote and Burly White’s wedding party near South Lake. This was a beautiful wedding, a marriage of two great people who met while hiking the Continental Divide trail and fell in love. They crowned their hike and sealed the deal by adopting a puppy together, and this great dog, “Huckleberry,” dug holes between the two as they voiced their oaths. Behind them the backdrop of the Inconsolable Range and Bishop Pass Mountains Mt. Goode, Mt. Johnson, and Mt. Thompson seemed only painted on canvas — it was that perfect. I was watching them get married and looking at familiar High Sierra at the same time.

I was something of the “wedding crasher,” having not only just met the couple weeks before, but also under the circumstance… continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 3: Piute Pass to Reds Meadow

Day 1: Piute Pass Trailhead to French Canyon

July 24th. This hike was kicked off with a pleasant hitch in a big truck from a fellow named Kelly. Kelly had just dropped his niece “Sierra” off at Mt. Whitney so that she could summit, and was headed back to Bishop where he was visiting family. Kelly and his niece had just finished the John Muir Trail (JMT) and had themselves hitch hiked, so he was eager to “pay it forward.” He was not only super fun to chat with, but he stopped by Great Basin bakery in Bishop (so much better than Schatz FWIW) and bought me a coffee, a muffin, and a baguette to pack out, AND he drove me all the way to the Puite Pass trailhead. With such luck and grace in the morning, it was inconceivable anything could go wrong.

Well, a couple things could go… continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 4: Reds Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows

This ~50-mile stretch of the Sierra High Route took me four days. I left from Reds Meadows near Mammoth Lakes on a Wednesday afternoon at 12:30pm and came out in Tuolumne Meadows on a Sunday at 11:00am with heels on fire – I wanted to make breakfast at the diner!

Day 1: Devil’s Postpile to Superior Lake

July 15th. It began with a pleasant enough jaunt along the PCT/JMT towards Devil’s Postpile, a mind-bogglingly geometric statue sculpted by no other force than Mother Nature. Mostly hexagonal (44.5%) and pentagonal (37.5%) rock posts — some of them near perfect — arise out of the ground up a couple hundred feet. They cracked into this shape when a mass of volcanic lava cooled slowly gazillions of years ago, and then were smoothed off by glacier movement at the top to show their angles. It was great to take this short side-trip loop… continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 5: Tuolumne Meadows to Twin Lakes

This 23-mile stretch of the Sierra High Route took me almost three days. I left Tuolumne Meadows Saturday June 13th at 7am and came out at Twin Lakes on Monday the 15th at 4:30pm. Granted, I’m usually able to hike 23 miles in one day, that’s when there’s a trail and I don’t have three unusually steep mountain passes to get over. Over three days I had my ass handed to me by this route and once finished, tentatively decided to not continue hiking it.

Day 1: Tuolumne Meadows to Cascade Lake

June 13th. I was originally set to leave on June 5, and was posted up in Tuolumne acclimating to the elevation, but rain came in and wasn’t letting up so I postponed. I’m actually glad it worked out this way, because I not only avoided rain but snow, too. I spent a week waiting it out in Mariposa… continue reading

Lighthouse Surrounded by Trail Trash

The Best Ultra Lightweight Sleeping Bags

Ultra lightweight sleeping bags are purpose-built for long-haul treks where space is at a premium and weight is counted in grams, but they can also be used on your ordinary family camping trips. I call that win-win!

The sleeping bag is part of “The Big Three:” your backpack, your tent, and your sleeping bag. These three items comprise the most weight, and take up the most space of all your gear. Also, they are items (aside from food and shoes) that can make–or break–your hike or tour. Be prepared to shell out good money up front (and not have to re-purchase something better later). This is an investment you’ll be putting to very good use. A sleeping bag is a camper’s best friend.

Considerations Bag girth and length. You want enough room to be able to roll over in your bag but not so much that you are… continue reading

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