Julian, California

October 31, 2014 Happy Birthday David! This was a terrific idea to celebrate in Julian, CA. Drove up on Halloween with beautiful weather. By the time we reached Julian it was  quite nice but cooler. Bought our famous Julian Apple Pie and headed to the cabin we rented along with Nancy & David called Artist Loft on Strawberry Hill owned by Chuck and Nan. They experienced the fire that went through there a few years back so their house and all 3 of their cabins are new but look rustic. Most of it was rebuilt from reclaimed material from around California. The frame work is made with 10 x10 beams and the floor is 8″ reclaimed planks.  Spent the evening listening to music from Frank Sinatra, dancing and a couple glasses of wine.  Chuck recommended Jeremy’s On The Hill for dinner. Really good but if you order the brussel sprouts order the sauce on the side, it was way too salty. But everything else was excellent. $$-$$$. We woke on 11-1 to find fog, rain and 49 degrees. Thought we could wait it out and had Belgian Waffles and eggs.  Being the troopers we are we headed to town and shopped a couple stores. One of my favorites is the Birdwatcher store located behind the bank. Bought a bird clock that has a different bird on each hour and makes the song of each every hour. Love it! Also bought 3 cute little birdies to put on my windowsill in the kitchen. Nancy got a whirly-gig for her yard. Also stopped and had apple pie, cinnamon ice cream, and coffee at the Julian Pie Company.  If it hadn’t been so cold I would have loved to check out the town cemetery and other historical sites but will have to wait for the next time, it was just too cold. Back at the cabin we played some games and more music. Dinner was excellent at Romano’s Italian Restaurant located across the street from the Birdwatcher store. Very crowded but good food. The last day is always the hardest and we always find a way to procrastinate and this was no exception. Chuck and Nan are quite the talkers and so we stayed as long as we could listening to some of their very interesting stories. Stopped at Julian Pie Company to pick up our Thanksgiving Apple Pies. Hope they last that long. Someday we’ll have to go back to see all the stuff we missed.

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Tahoe Rim Trail “TRT”




One and half day drive from Phoenix to South Lake Tahoe, temperature perfect – 40’ to 80’, no rain. Forest extremely dry, whole area in drought, bears coming into communities for food, bear hunting permit signs on trail.

On Eastern part of TRT had two dry camps. We cached water but still needed to carry 108 oz. H2O each in parts. Nancy developed a blister on both feet the first day. Waterproof band aids were life saver. They were nearly gone by the end of the hike. Passes were hard mentally for Nancy. We came across “Endurance Mt. Bicyclist” for 75 miles. Mega for the hardy, mostly younger men.

Western part of TRT had more streams and lakes that was a very welcome and mood lifting change.

PCT from Meiss Meadows to Twin Peaks shared the trail. Lake Tahoe can be seen from many view points of the trail. During last few days near Twin Peaks, started to see smoke but could not smell it.

* Items used in emergency kits – Pepto-Bismol, blister ointment, water proof band aids, duck tape to repair tent pole, benedryl for allergies – runny nose, Exped repair kit.

* Animals we saw – coyote, grouse, Canadian geese, water fowl, lots of deer (including fawn), hawks, beaver, marmot, squirrels, chipmunks that yelled at us.

* Funny stories – We met a young Englishman hiking the opposite direction. He asked us if we had seen any bears. We had only seen foot prints and scat. Said he had just seen one I think that day coming down the trail ahead of him and the bear looked at him. He slowly backed up from the bear and the bear nonchalantly walked off to the lake, swam across to an island then continued on to the other side. The young man grabbed his heart and said “gave me a bit of a fright!”

A young couple (probably in their 20’s) hiking the opposite direction stopped to chat with Judy. The young girl kept looking at Judy’s backpack, the one she has had since the 80’s. She finally asked what that was on her pack. Judy, thinking she was talking about the bag strapped to the top, replied it was her tent and sleeping bag. Than the girl said “so what was that metal thing? Her chair?” Her partner corrected her and said that it was one of those “external frame packs.” Shows how long Judy has been at this!

* Special day – It was Nancy’s birthday on the 29th. Celebrated at the Mellow Mountain Hostel. She said it was the best Birthday ever because she got to take a wonderful shower. And Judy had treats for her. A wonderful day.

* People we met that made a wonderful difference in out hike:

* Endurance Race 75 mile Mt. Bike Race
* 200 mile runners in 96 hours
* Elias Small and Wolfie from Mellow Mountain Hostel

* Swix and Kristi from Portland – also doing the TRT. They left us an uplifting note cloths pinned to
the Brockway Summit trailhead sign. What an uplifting treat!

* Rambling Hemlock aka Joan West doing the PCT. Due to a stress fracture had to bail but after 10
weeks rest started back up (into it 5 days when we met). Loved her Gossimer backpack, home
made skirt that she designed and was a delight to talk to. She was kind enough to stop and chat for
awhile. We had so many questions wanted to ask but knew she had an agenda to push on.

* White Trash Brigade – Robert Beercase and Rebecca who voluntarily clean up trash around the
lakes and trails one day every week (Robert and Becky talked a lot but was very excited about
what they do, keeping the lakes and trails beautiful. They were kind to take our trash and pictures
of us throwing our trash in their white trash bags. They gave free bandanas to anyone throwing
in their trash. They were very nice and friendly. After we loaded up with water we hiked 2 miles
further to Miller Creek near the Rubicon road. Not a great creek more of a puddle. Used Clorox
drops and boiled the water. But good camp spot.

* Bill and Mike – TRT Association volunteers doing trail maintenance.

* Trevor Thomas aka Zero/Zero – We met him at Echo Chalet after he had just finished a
press conference. He finished hiking the TRT with his seeing eye dog, Tennille. He went blind
In 2008. He has hiked the AT, PCT and many other long distance trails. We were fortunate to
meet him, Tennille and Tennille’s trainer. A very inspiring person to us and many other people.
Made Nancy look at her complaining as very incidental. Worth reading his blogs.

* Hotels we stayed at – Rodeway Inn, South Lake Tahoe; America Best Value Inn, Tahoe City.

* Phone #’s that are helpful – TRTA – 775-298-4485; Go Blue Bus – 775-589-5284; TART Bus (North shore) – 800-736-6365; Spooner Lake Outdoor Co. (www.theflumetrail.com – 775-298-2501 $15 gave us a shuttle ride up to Mt. Rose Trailhead; Paddle Wheel Salon – very kind owner, Christina, gave us a ride to our car (had a cold one first) Mellow Mountain Hostel, 4081 Cedar Ave. 530-600-3272.

* Important – Need permit to camp in Desolation Wilderness area. Brockway summit is an important place to cache water. Beware of wind advisories as pine cones falling are very sharp and heavy so dangerous. Crossing highways – no over/under crossways. Make sure to look both ways.

* Places we ate that we enjoyed – South Lake Tahoe – Tep’s Villa Roma Italian and seafood; Tahoe City – Jakes by the Lake; Incline Village – Cocktails and Bar Food at Paddle Wheel across from Hyatt.

* Helpful things to know – Bikes from Tahoe meadows on trail on even days; Desolation Wilderness Permits $20 (we were checked on the trail by rangers); free fire permit needed even to light a match and for gas stove; check if camp fires permitted anywhere before you go; Camp Richardson is worth taking time to look around. Was told the Truckee River at Tahoe City was worth checking out for a raft or tube ride down the river. While we were there, the river was too low for us to enjoy that fun.

* Nature we saw at the Visitor Center while getting our permits – Wolf tree (very hugh), white headed woodpecker. Stream stocked with either cutthroat trout or salmon. Rent bikes in the area.

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail August 13th 2013 to September 5th 2013 June Storment, Judy Eidson, Connie Simmons, Nancy Vail (which had to bail the day before the trip)

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

We plan and replanned for this trip, it was all worth the time, as the hike went as planned.
It took 10 hrs to drive from Phoenix to Mammoth Lakes, Ca – 600 miles. Lenny Krantz a friend that shuttle our jeep down to Whitney Portal gave us a world wind tour of their beautiful ski town.
First we decided on the amount of days we needed to hike. We didn’t feel any need to set amount of days, we are all retired, we exited out on the 21st day. We decided when a storm rolled in we would stop early. We did camp right outside of Red

2013-08-19 08.32.56Meadows(near Devil’s Post Pile) so the next day we would have a full day to do laundry, resupply & have a good meal, we did take zero day at Muir Ranch. This ranch was a delight, as you enter there is a backpackers bell that you ring to have friendly staff greet you. There was a cowboy training a colt, happy dogs ready to go with the mule packers & 2 close to 80 year olds cowgirls that could tell you stories that made you smile!

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If you have reservations you can use the private hot springs, wringer washing machine,IMG_0297 (2014_05_28 03_50_08 UTC)

& have a great breakfast, sack lunch & supper. Our supply locations would be Red Meadows , Muir Ranch and to carry 11 days worth of food! Yes it all fit into the bear canisters, anything that had a scent in their toiletry bag needed to go into the bear canister also. We did have an option to exit out at Kearsarge Pass, or get a pack animal, we decided against both. With very carefully planning it was successful!
I felt the meal planning was the most time-consuming. My game plan was to get the right fats, carbs and protein in. I dehydrated a lot of fruit, protein, brought dried salami tortillas, pita, flat bread, hard cheese, polenta couscous, trail mix protein drinks, Probars just to name a few. it all paid off!
I didn’t train probably hard enough but I had no issues nor the other girls, we only got stronger each day and when we took breaks we would soak our feet which helped me to take the swelling out of my swollen, sweaty feet. We did do is shake down in Colorado the month before for 4 days with all of our gear, clothing and try to mimic our trip. Again I felt that was helpful.
We had no problems with critters, mosquitoes or bears but we tried to do everything right. I did consider not taking bear canisters since we were told that there would be bear boxes along the way, we were so glad we did not go that route as it was not feasible. The canisters to consider are Garcia, Bearvault, and Bearikade. Many suppliers rent lightweight equipment. One that we check out was www.Lowergear.com they are very attentive to your needs and deliver promptly, they also have a store out of Tempe, Az.
There are nine passes you cross,2013-08-27 14.31.40

2013-08-29 13.23.30it’s like doing the Grand Canyon each day if not twice a day but the views are breathtaking and worth every step. Some of the passes were very windy and cold2013-09-01 17.52.51

we never really knew what the weather was going to be but we lucked out as there was only one day that was a real rainy, the rest was perfect weather2013-08-30 15.29.08

( except guitar Lake which I will talk about later) there were 2 fires going on in the area, one being the Rim Fire which was a bit nerve-racking since we didn’t have a lot of details.  2013-09-02 09.24.51

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We did get up very early so we could either get over the pass early enough or stop early in the day to make a nice campsite we had no reason to do 20 mile days the most we did was 17 miles and the least 7 miles.
Some of my favorite places were Seldon Pass, Sallie Keys, Rae lakes, Upper Vidette Meadows, Forester Pass, and the best of all Mount Whitney!
We did take a satellite phone with us due to the fact that we had 2 elderly parents that we wanted to make sure we can get notified if any issues, there are only a couple phone cell site along this route of 200 miles that you can make a call. We went with a Scottsdale company called PHI satellite phone, number is 877 977 6303.
( not cheap)
Before summiting Mount Whitney we stayed at Guitar Lake, it really did look like a guitar

2013-09-04 06.49.32there was three small storms that rolled through while we were there between wind, rumbling threating clouds, rain and some small hail. IMG_0515 (2014_05_28 03_50_08 UTC)

2013-09-03 17.30.06There is no place to potty, all granite. You will receive wag bag (yep also known as a potty bag or a bag with kinda like clumping cat liter) at the ranger station when you pass through – they are a must! We started out at 5:30 a.m. the next morning with our trail family Gordon & Annie. You get to a Y before you either going up to Mount Whitney or head down to Whitney Portal,2013-09-04 09.13.34

2013-09-04 09.49.07we reach the Y approximately 8:00am. The side trip to Mount Whitney is only 1 1/2 miles,

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it is a bit sketchy and a little rock scrambling but it is well worth it if you are not afraid of heights, it was time to put on a puff jacket at 14,505 ft. The summit was more beautiful and dramatic than ever expected, you have 360 degree views.

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2013-09-04 10.00.11It was dedicated 9-5-1905 83 years ago the day we were there, and the hut was built-in 1909 which has a book that you can sign in. As I looked around and took deep breaths of all we experienced in 3 weeks, once again I said to myself – It’s not the destination it was the journey that got me there that made the trip! There is nothing like being on a hikers high!

Knife Edge On Mt. Whitney Trail

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Unfortunately, it is near this area that the trail narrows to a knife edge in a few places making it especially dangerous. People have been blown off the trail. Some have probably fallen from sheer fatigue or died from hypothermia.
This trail claims at least one person ea year. September 1, 2013, the body of Yukio Kato, a 60-year old man from Torrance, CA, fell approximately 200 feet over a cliff

from the Mount Whitney Trail to his death. The incident happened approximately 1 mile from Mount Whitney at 13,500 feet.

There is one short section of guard posts with cables along the 99 switchbacks. There is a problem with ice buildup on this section and a very steep drop off along the fence.

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Trails Camp you can get your water and continuing to hike out to Whitney Portal, which is where Lenny had shuttled our jeep to. Almost on all long trips its hard for me to leave the wilderness, it’s like a tug of war. We decided to spend one more night at a beautiful Post Camp with a waterfalls, pine tree’s, willows and reminisce the whole trip before we exited out. Guitar lake the wind was so strong that we ended up having one pole break so our last night out was made with duct tape to hold the tent together. Once you reach the parking lot at Whitney Portal you get to dump your wag bags, oh Yea! IMG_0556 (2014_05_28 03_50_08 UTC)Plus a cafe that had the best pancake that overlapped 2-10 inch plates that feed 5 of us!
People we met along the way that became our trail family ,Gordon and Annie DuBois that was father and daughter, DR Connie Ayers, Ron his wife had to exit due to altitude sickness his friend Bob of 74 yr that joined him for the rest of the trail. I was so proud of him as he kept saying I can’t wait to tell my family & friends they will never believe I did this! John & Donann that had to exit out at Bishop do to knee issues. Polite Pete a guide for High Sierra from Prescott, Az, & Don “still looking”& John Ladd. Five of us had a great celebration at the Totem Cafe in Lone Pine,    2013-08-17 14.49.28

a movie mega area. The Long Long Trailer was filmed on the road we just came down, & many more in the town of Lone Pine with the background of Mt Whitney in the background.

Numbers that may be helpful – permits 209 372 0740 or late arrival you need to notify the National Park services 209 372 0308 to hold your permit.
Tuolumne Meadows lodge elevation 8,600 phone number 801 559 4892 dinner reservations are required 209 372 8413, www.yosmitepark.com
At Tuolumne Meadows lodge there are tent cabins out of canvas with beds and a small stove they will furnish a wool blanket ,soap and a towel you will have a community shower / bathroom nearby.
Vermillion Valley Resort backpacker friendly which can also be used as a supply point. They have tent cabins, Motel, laundry, showers in a store that has a good selection to choose from www.edison.com (we never stayed or visited this location)
www.MuirTrailRanch.com supply location with cabins & Hot Springs.
Bus Yarts www.yarts.com 877 989 2787
High sierra shuttle – www.estransit.com 800 9221930
Red Meadows a supply location with campgrounds, Motel , cabins Mule Shoe cafe 800 292 7758
Packers Pine Creek, www.pinecreekps@AOL.Com

2013-09-05 15.05.15Hope you enjoy the pictures!