The past couple months have been sort of a blur. The biggest thing to happen is probably my move from New Zealand back to California. It was certainly an interesting transition. Sitting in the airport in Auckland I wasn't sure how to feel. Thinking of traffic, crime, and smog, part of me wanted to run for the hills. Another part of me missed traffic, crime, and smog in a unexplainably sick sort of way. Perhaps this feeling was provoked by the fact that I missed family and friends present in said societal conditions. Regardless, the ticket in my hand said destination Los Angeles, so I went.
After a long, bumpy, wind filled, sleepless air travel experience, we saw land. And the 405 packed with traffic, which made my stomach churn a bit. I was "home," at least for a week and a half, and was happy to catch up with everyone.
Well the week and a half was gone in a blink of an eye, and I was off to the mountains once again. A friend, Joe Barry, and headed up to Yosemite Valley to hike the John Muir Trail.
The John Muir Trail is 211 miles of straight California mountain awesomeness. We climbed passes, traversed snow and ice fields, forded creeks, scrambled across countless moraines, and basically just had an amazing time acting like total mountain man badasses.
Gear List: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pivr1lAwkMltL8MB5iA-Uew&output=html
Our mission began in Yosemite Valley, roughly 4500ft and the lowest we'd be. We left our car at Tuolumne and shuttled down to the Valley that afternoon to catch some sleep and prepare ourselves for a big first day on the trail. Walking around we came across a bobcat that didn't seem to be in much of a rush. Pretty cool, I'd never seen one before (alive, that is). The bobcat was a mere foreshadowing of the adventure to come when the sun went down.
Joe and I were hangin out in camp when a ranger came over. She told us if our bearcan was out of the bear locker to keep it within arm's reach. Otherwise, make sure it's in the locker and is locked up, she continued. We said okay, whatever, and carried on making dinner. An hour or so later we're packin up a bit and put the bearcan in the locker, along with my pack, and fail to shut the door. We're setting stuff up and about to hit the sack, when I look over to the bear locker about 15ft from me and see the reflection of two big eyes staring back at me. Joe and I start clapping and yelling at the hungry fellow as I step closer and closer to him to scare him off. I probably got within 6-7ft of it before he folded and backed off enough where I was able to shut the box. He disappeared into the night after that. A bear encounter the first night, our adventure was off to a good start!
We rose the next morning at a lazy hour and began our climb out of the Valley. We climbed Yosemite's iconic Half Dome as a little side trip as well. I think we did something like 14-16 miles and 5300ft the first day. Heck yah!
Joe on the rail section.
The next day we made our way toward Tuolumne and the car. We camped just a few miles out along a creek. Joe took out the stitches in my right arm.
Healed like a champ.
More words and photos later