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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

High Sierra Trek: Coming Out of the Wilderness‏

August 16th, 2009 · 2 Comments

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We came out of the wilderness from our two-week High Sierra trek on Saturday, August 15. Actually, we came out of three designated Wilderness areas, Emigrant, Yosemite, and Hoover. We came out at the Green Creek Trailhead, down at 7,995 feet, just 13 miles from Bridgeport, California.

When we got up at 5:45 a.m. the temperature was 23.8 degrees. We left at 7 a.m., early, because two of our party had a long drive that we accommodated. In fact, because we left the wilderness at 1 p.m., I made a 250 mile drive to Winnemucca, Nevada, instead of staying overnight at Bridgeport as planned.

Hoover Lake is in the Hoover Wilderness, Both Named in Honor of President Herbert Hoover

Hoover Lake is in the Hoover Wilderness, Both Named in Honor of President Herbert Hoover

The Sierra Nevada has stunning beauty that is quite different from the beauty of the Rockies that I know. That was the best part of the trek. But the group I traveled with was one of the best reasons to spend two weeks in close company. It surely one of the nicest, most positive, appreciative, helpful, sharing group that I have ever know. I intend to keep in touch with them.

We also ate much better on the trail than I have experienced before. We didn’t travel light. Marty’s five mules carried 875 pounds of our gear, and each of us carried about 25 pounds in our daypacks. All together we had more than 1,000 pounds of gear, or 200 pounds per person. Consequently, we lived and ate well on the trail.

My very low carb diet took a back seat to the exigencies of the trail. While my breakfast and lunch remained essentially unchanged, I was flexible enough to avail myself of the wonderful dinners that John cooked for us.

For breakfast I usually had my GreensFirst veggie drink with added protein powder. But sometimes I had fresh trout that Marv caught and RC cooked or the great chicken sausages that John cooked. I started most days with hot chocolate, which although not low carb, felt right for the trail. I skipped the pancakes and French toast that John sometimes cooked for breakfast.

For lunch I usually stayed with my sardines and almonds. But sometimes I ate a hunk of salami or lunch meat.

Dinner was the real challenge for my diet. After appetizers like oysters, John started each dinner with a delicious and different soup. The main course was always a different one-pot meal that I coudn’t resist.

Because of the additional carbs for the two weeks I spent on the trail, I’m pretty sure that my blood glucose levels are up and that I gained weight. But the carbs and the fat that I ate gave me the energy that I needed to hike an average of more than 10 miles a day.

Now, as I grow older, I think about what I will do for fun when I can no longer go on long hikes like this trek. For some time I have been thinking that I would again like to walk on the beach at low tide. When I reach my ninth decade I may return to the coast of California somewhere between Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.

Meanwhile, what? RC got me thinking about the nearer future with a comment that he made. At 72, he says that this may be the last of his many long hikes. He is planning to take photo safaris from base camps with great photographers. That also appeals to me. I will also carefully set up short hikes to beautiful sites near home to improve some of my existing shots.

But beyond hiking and photography what for future fun? My thoughts turn instead to weekend or week-long meditation retreats. I have that opportunity through our local Vipassana sangha, where I have been sitting most every Tuesday evening.

What else? Maybe a week-long base camp hike that John is hoping to lead next year. Mules will carry the gear to a central location one day into a wilderness and then we could take day hikes radiating out from there. Maybe we could instead ride horses into an even more remote base camp.

Except for two unusually cold days, we were blessed with good weather, much better than Colorado’s in the summer. We had no rain, while in Colorado rain on a summer afternoon is the rule rather than the exception. We had little wind even in the passes. Except for one or two evenings, even mosquitoes were rare.

When we departed, saying goodbye to the beauty of the mountains and friendships quickly formed, we stood for another group shot paralleling the one of us made two weeks earlier. We were fresher and cleaner then, but knew so much less of these magnificent mountains.

Trek's End: Me, RC, John, Susan, Marv, and Marty

Trek's End: Me, RC, John, Susan, Marv, and Marty


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Posted in: Hiking

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RC // Aug 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Terrific job, David. All the best to you. You are some one special and it was real pleasure to get to know you. Reagrds,

  • 2 Carolyn Henderson // Sep 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I enjoyed your hiking trip very much. Wish I could have joined in. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of the scenery, too.


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