Earlier this week I went up to Red’s Meadow with Neil to resupply David. Red’s Meadow is a small oasis in the wilderness that has a pack station, campgrounds, a general store and a cafe. It’s a perfect place for hikers to grab a shower and something to eat other than dehydrated hiking meals and trail snacks. The food at the cafe is really good, even if you haven’t been on the trail for days. For the backpackers, it gives them what David likes to call “an emergency calorie reinfusion”. As you can see from the picture, David is enjoying ice cream, one of his all-time favorites. Their homemade pie is pretty good, too!
I’m getting ready for the first re-supply trip to David . A friend and I are heading up to Reds Meadow tomorrow to bring the next five days’ worth of food and supplies. We’re also bringing some things that would be difficult to backpack in, specifically a pineapple upside-down cake. This re-supply is a drive-up and will take about 6 hours on the road, so it means an overnight stay at the backpacker’s campground, but no hike in to deliver the goodies.
While we were at Yosemite for the beginning of the JMT 2014 hike, I was able to get my Senior Pass. This pass is a lifetime pass that lets you into over 2000 recreation sites, including all of the national parks. US citizens who are 62 or older can get the pass. It costs $10.00. Mine has already paid for itself!
Hike preparations are almost complete. We have laid out our route and created a day-by-day ininerary. Gear has been cleaned and packed. And food has been prepared, packaged, and sorted by the resupply drop where we’ll be getting it.
Liza and I created a video showing our food preparations. It’s on the Videos page of this site. I’ll be living on dehydrated dinners, oatmeal breakfasts, protein shakes, and ramen noodles for three weeks. Yes, the food is definitely better in Paris, as Liza likes to point out, but the mountains are calling, and… well, you know the rest of it. Five days to go until the hike begins.
Me and my big mouth! Who’d have thought that just because I said I’d jump off a bridge if the ‘100 x 100’ campaign met its goal, that I’d actually have to do it. But as Liza put it so well, “If you say you’re going to jump off a bridge, you really have to do it!” No green-screen, and no excuses.
Actually it was about the most fun I’ve had all year. I did two jumps and came up grinning both times. I don’t know if I’d recommend it for the faint of heart, but if you’re into thrill rides, there aren’t many better than this.
The funniest part of the day was all the twenty-somethings asking “How old is he, anyway?” I used to be called immature, but now they call me young at heart.
You can click the link above to see the video, or view it on the ‘Videos’ page.
One week to go until we begin the Big Hike! I’m working this week to get all my food ready to go. To save weight, all the commercially-prepared food is coming out of its original packaging and going into plastic bags. The bags are lighter and produce less trash on the trail. So far, breakfasts are done, dinners are about half-done, and I’m working on lunches. Once the meals are bagged up, they go into one of four resupply boxes; one for the start of the hike in Yosemite Valley, and three others for the points where Liza will resupply me: Red’s Meadow, Muir Trail Ranch, and Bullfrog Lake. Everything has to go into a ‘bear cannister’, a bear-proof container with a limited amount of space. The plastic bags double the capacity of my bear cannister, and they keep food weight to a minimum.
It was a great training hike for the John Muir Trail. I tried out my new nutrition strategies, and I concentrated on deep-breathing at altitude. It all worked very well. I’ve removed ten pounds from my pack weight (goodbye, spare change of clothes, and all the other amenities), and I feel like I’m just about ready for the JMT.
Liza (trail name ‘Skree Dancer’) summitted in fine form, and it was great to have her with me this time. Don’t ask me my trail name (it’s ‘Face Plant’).
Liza and I are headed up to Mt Langley this weekend for a final run-through of the JMT hike. It’s supposed to be the “easy fourteener” in the Sierras, but believe me, there are no easy fourteeners! We’ll be staying at Cottonwood Lakes for two nights and day-hiking to the Langley summit on Saturday.
Cottonwood lakes is some of the prettiest country in the Sierras. We backpacked in the area two summers ago, although we didn’t bag Langley on that trip. We are really excited about going back!
Thanks, and a shout-out to Christine Le, who came back with a second contribution, equal to her first! She’s the second double-dipper we’ve had in our fundraising campaign. Thanks, Christine!
And a big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has contributed to the ’100 x 100′ fundraising campaign. Your support will help ensure that the next generation will grow up healthy and happy. And if you haven’t contributed yet, it’s not too late. You can go to Contribute.JMT2014.org to make a donation to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Thanks!
I did the Rae Lakes Loop last week as a dress rehearsal for the John Muir Trail. The Loop is a challenging, 50-mile backpack with over 7,000 feet of elevation gain. It includes a climb up Glen Pass, at about 12,000 feet above sea level. So, it’s a pretty good trial run for the JMT, and a good indicator of likely challenges on the trail.
I discovered that I am pretty well prepared for the Big Hike, but I’ve still got work to do. On Glen Pass, I was literally gasping for air. So, I’m now doing breathing exercises on a decive valled a Spirometer. It’s already making a difference.
I also discovered that I am short on energy on the tough climbs at high altitude. So, I have added a nutritional supplement to my water, and a carbohydrate gel to help provide fuel when the going gets tough.
Finally, I’m carrying too much weight in my backpack. I went in with about 50 pounds last week, including a week’s worth of food. I am getting ready to go through the backpack and eliminate everything that is not absolutely essential. I hope to get the backpack weight down to 40 pounds. I’ll be in the Sierras again next weekend for another trial run. And on July 30th, I’ll head off down the trail.
Rae Lakes is one of the prettiest hikes I’ve ever done, as well as one of the more difficult. There is a gallery of trail pictures in the Galleries section of the web site, and a short video about the hike on YouTube.