Buena Vista Crest

Lower Merced Lake to Buena Vista Crest to Mono Meadows Trailhead (18 miles, +3,100/-4,600 feet). I was very excited to get up and get started this morning.  Set aside the fact that it was 25 degrees and our water had frozen and I was happy to be moving.  What I was really looking forward to…

Lower Merced Pass Lake

Mono Meadows Trail to Lower Merced Pass Lake (13 miles, +3,000/-1,400 feet). It’s been quite a while since Orion and I did a hike together, so I was really looking forward to our trip to Yosemite. Although the forecast called for lows in the 20s, the weather was bizarrely still quite seasonal, with no snow…

Chilnualna Falls Trail

UC Yosemite Field Station to View of Wawona Dome on the Chilnualna Falls Trail (5 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). The University of California has some sweet facilities for hosting conferences, including some at Yosemite, so I reserved one of them in late October for our annual “Human Nature Group Masters” conference of colleagues and UCSD alumni….

Just One More Up

Upper Velma Lake to Inspiration Point (5 miles, +800/-2,000 feet) Sometimes I read the topo map wrong. Today was one of those days. I assured ZoZo that we had “just one more up” of a few hundred feet, and then it was all downhill to finish up our three day trip in the Desolation Wilderness….

Dicks Pass

Susie Lake to Upper Velma Lake (10 miles, +2,000/-1,900 feet) Man oh man the moon was bright last night.  I didn’t bring my umbrella on this trip because I didn’t expect rain or long hot fast climbs, but I sure wish I had brought it for its moon shade. Since we didn’t have to drive…

Lake Aloha

Echo Lakes Trailhead to Susie Lake (10 miles, +1,700/-1,400 feet) It’s time for another birthday trip with ZoZoZoom!  At 25 miles over three days and two nights, it will be her longest backpacking trip ever.  Not bad for a septuagenerian! But it is also personally exciting for me, too.  I’ve always wanted to see the…

Filling the Gap

Garnet Lake to Agnew Meadows (8 miles, +1,100/-2,500 feet). Our last day on trail was super easy and surprisingly pretty.  The main virtue of today’s route for me (other than the burger and beer at its end!) was to see part of the John Muir Trail I had to abandon on an earlier trip where…

Clinch Pass

Lower Twin Island Lake to Garnet Lake (11 miles, +3,200/-3,100 feet). Today was one of those happy accidents.  I have frequently found that Plan Bs end up being better than Plan As, maybe not because they are objectively better, but because they often involve surprise. I had no idea how spectacular the upper basin of…

Whitebark, Garnet, and North Glacier Pass

Forest camp above Ediza Lake to Lower Twin Island Lake (9 miles, +3,300/-3,000 feet). Today was extremely gorgeous!  We basically spent the whole time circumnavigating the highly photogenic Ritter and Banner Peaks and the lakes below them.  I will definitely need to come back to this part of the High Route. To make things even…

Nancy Pass

Devil’s Postpile to forest camp above Ediza Lake (13 miles, +4,700/-2,900 feet). Time for my annual hike with UltraShuffle!  Only this time we added two to our party, MixMaster and UltraShuffle’s son Rainbow T.  We drove up to Mammoth yesterday to acclimatize and then headed off on a section of the Sierra High Route.  Our…

Deer Pass

Duck Lake to Lake George Trailhead (8 miles, +2,000/-3,300 feet). Last night I discovered a new use for my hiking umbrella.  The moon was so bright right there on the lake that I actually opened up the umbrella inside my tent to create a moon shade.  It worked perfectly!  I will definitely do that again….

Bighorn and Shout of Relief Pass

Mono Creek to Duck Lake (16 miles, +5,500/-3,600 feet). Well things have a way of working out.  I slept really well last night not only because I found a beautiful flat spot next to Mono Creek, but also because I was deep in the shadow of the woods and away from the bright moon.  Wonderful!…