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January to April 2012

Post date: Mar 26, 2012 3:31:23 PM We are always interested in finding new places to eat good food on the way to and from the Sierra. Admittedly, we only live a few hours away. But particularly after a long trip, we like to stop and wolf down some food on the way home. And we've found a few places that we really enjoy.

>> We recently stopped at the Cafe at the top of Old Priest Grade, and had a really nice meal. The menu is not extensive (we think that's a good thing---do a few things, and do them well!) but all of them show both talent and care in the kitchen. And the pies at the end of the meal are homemade and delicious. You'll hear conversation about everything from climbing Everest to Grand Opera here! We've added this one to our list of regular stops on our way to and from Yosemite on Highway 120!

>> Kelly's Mountain House in Sugar Pine on Highway 108 is another place we enjoy. Nothing fancy, but pretty honest food and a very reasonably priced wine list. And if their wines are not what you want, they charge a whopping $6 corkage to bring in something else. Burgers top the list here, but the pies are good, too! A perfect stop on your way to and from the Emigrant Wilderness. (sadly, Kelly's is now closed...) We'd love to hear if you have other places that you enjoy on the way in and out of the mountains!

Post date: Mar 14, 2012 11:41:32 PM Nope--sorry, it's not about nudity on the trail, although we are following the discussions of an international hike naked day that are working their way through some of the forums...and no, we won't post photos. This is more about what you carry in your pack, and what you wear.

Every time we start a hike, we talk over what we are going to wear on the trail. M is someone who likes to stay warm and is usually cold, at least in the mornings. She layers on every available layer of warmth, and still gets cold hands and feet when she is hiking. She frequently wears warm clothes on the trail when the temp drops below 60. She will wear an undershirt, shirt, fleece, and jacket hiking uphill in 50 degree weather. And her hands are still cold.

P, on the other hand, is someone who gets warm just walking on a level trail, and usually hikes with little more than a single shirt and pants, even when the temps are quite cold. On our last snowshoe adventure, he was hiking along in just his normal single layer shirt, and was feeling quite comfy.

And his hands were warm--so warm that we stopped a couple of times so that he could wrap them around poor M's freezing fingers to get them to warm up. (She was in gloves, he was bare-handed.) If P wears any more clothes than this, he starts to sweat---and once his shirt gets damp, it's no fun at all in the snow!

But then we stopped for lunch. M sat down happily on a log and started to chew away. She was happy, warm, and hungry. P immediately threw on every piece of clothing, including both a fleece and a down jacket. And within minutes he was shivering--cold enough to get hypothermia.

He bolted his lunch and started to move around, just trying to get warm. M happily finished her lunch at a sedate pace and announced she was ready to start walking. And so we did.

Within a couple of minutes P was warm enough to throw off his down jacket...and the fleece came off a few minutes later. By the time we got back to the car, he was back down to his single shirt, and warm and comfy. Go figure.

Clearly body temperatures are just another area where your mileage may vary!

Post date: Mar 12, 2012 4:44:02 AM Yes, we are getting antsy about getting out on the trail. And that means that we are spending a lot of time with our maps, following trails, counting miles, and staring intently at those contour lines. We've already hiked at least two hundred miles in our minds... But some of those trails are in the very high country, and those will have to wait until later in the season.

We've got a list of those--far too many for this coming summer. And we also have a list of trails that might work earlier in the season, particularly if this low snow year holds into the summer. We are supposed to get some snow this week, and if we get a few more storms, it might even help us catch up to normal.

And it wasn't all that much fun slipping our boots on and off while sitting in the snow, either. At any rate, unless it really starts snowing in the next month or so, we'll be on the trail this year earlier, and higher, than any year we can remember.

(You can find a list of early season hikes in the destination sections of this website, in case you are interested in a similar adventure.)

Speaking of remembering, we also remember what it's like to be the first person out on the trail each year. We run into downed trees, impassable creeks, and all sorts of adventures.

And then the trails are either hard to find because they are under snow, or muddy, or full of water. We can hardly wait.

Post date: Mar 9, 2012 6:08:49 PM We’ve found a lot of things on the trail over the years, from little bits of trash to some pretty expensive equipment. And we don’t always know what to do about it.

The trash is easy. If it is small enough and not a bio-hazard, we’ll just pick up and pack it out. And swear a small curse on the person who left it there. We always get back to the trailhead with some extra trash.Sometimes the trash is too big to carry. We just have to leave it there. But what if it isn’t trash? We once found a perfectly packed and very expensive small tent on the side of the trail, half-way up Snow Creek in Yosemite. We were on a day hike, and we left it there on our way up. And it was still there on our way down. We discussed taking back down and turning it in to the lost and found department at the visitor center. That way it might have found its way back to its owners.

But we also considered that someone had left that tent on the trail intentionally, and were planning to come back for it later. There are a lot of climbers in this area, and rock climbers don’t like carrying tent up cliffs unless they have to. So we left it there.

(If it had been us, we would have left it in a more discreet that others wouldn't see it or be confused.)

And last summer we found a very nice sandal on the trail up to second recess above Edison Lake. It was just one sandal, and we once again considered taking it back to the ferry, so that whoever lost it might find it again. In the end, we decided that it was more likely that a hiker would find it by backtracking and checking the trail, rather than the resort on the other side of the lake. So we left the sandal in the middle of the trail, where it was impossible to miss.

And a fellow passenger on the ferry commiserated with us about the fact that she had lost a sandal on that trail. We were able to tell her exactly where it was---but she wasn’t going to go back.

And on the first day of our hike on that same trail, M lost her hat.(It was P’s fault, because he had wedged it into the back of her pack, and it had fallen out.)

So on the way back out, we looked everywhere for it.It was a big hat, and hard to miss.But someone had clearly found it, and picked it up.

Now M needs a new hat. So if you know anyone who found one in that area...

Post date: Mar 4, 2012 3:41:00 PM Everyone agrees that a hiker should have a first aid kit in his or her pack. But almost nobody agrees on what you should carry in it. We don't claim to be experts in first aid, but we have been hiking quite a while, and M's father is a physician--whose advice is aways sought and often taken. Over the past week we've taken the time to think this through again, and check on our first aid kit.

Here's what we decided to take along.And while this might not be the perfect first aid kit for you, it has served us well over the years. It's built on a very basic philosophy: it's aimed at making someone comfortable for a day or two, while someone else goes and gets real emergency help. So you won't find splints for setting broken legs, or surgical tools for emergency surgeries. (We do carry a pocket knife, for those McGyver moments!)

If you are really in trouble, you'll need more than this kit to survive. But the things in this kit will help you recover from minor injuries and maladies. And they may just keep you alive long enough for someone else to come and get you!

Ibuprophen--for sore muscles etc.

Acetominophen--for headaches and pains

Chewable pepto bismol--for bilious bellies

Imodium--for more bilious bellies

Antiseptic wipes--to clean wounds and our hands

Antibiotic ointment--to put on those cuts and scrapes to prevent infection

Bandaids/bandages--we carry a large assortment of sizes and shapes. And lots of them.Moleskin--the hiker's friend, for blisters and potential blisters

Ace bandage--to hold things together and give support

Pre-wrap--this stretchy stuff actually works better than an Ace bandage...and for more things

Space blanket--to keep you marginally warmer.Sewing kit--to stitch up everything from the tent to your elbow

Ziploc bag--to keep everything dry and together.How many of these items have we used?

The first two get regular use, both by us and others whom we meet on the trail. Nothing like Tylenol for that altitude induced headache! And we've occasionally used the wipes and bandaids for minor cuts--and the antiseptic ointment. So far we've never used the rest of it, except the sewing kit to repair various parts of our kit. And we are very grateful for that.

Post date: Feb 29, 2012 10:39:34 PM Those expensive multi-tools are beautiful little things, combining knife, saw, screwdrivers (both phillips and slot), pliers, and just about everything you could possibly want in a tiny little package, albeit a heavy one. We have one that our daughter gave us that is truly a work of art. But in a recent backpacking discussion, we started thinking about the things that had broken when we were out in the woods.

Here's where and how we solved a few of those problems

Broken zipper on tent door. Sewed and safety-pinned that door shut, then used the door on the other side for the rest of the trip. Good thing the tent had two doors.

M's pack tore open at the bottom. The problem was that there wasn't quite enough material in the seam. We re-sewed it with dental floss...and it has now carried us hundreds of miles.

P's Crocs split at the heel. We lived with this one through the end of the trip, then patched it up with duct tape. And we refresh that tape every year!

Water filter plugged. Yeah--this one was on a spring hike with very high, muddy water. And we didn't have a backup filter. We melted snow in our pots and bottles by putting them in a black bag and leaving that in the sun.

Bug netting on our tent got torn. Yep--another job for P and his trusty sewing kit. Tent is good as new, more or less.

Scariest of all: Almost ran out of matches! We each thought the other had packed them...we ended up with ten matches for five days. And we made every single one of them count!So looking at this, the most valuable tool we had was a sewing kit...and now we carry two BIC lighters!

Post date: Feb 28, 2012 8:04:18 PM Hiking in the snow certainly has its challenges. Even with snowshoes, it's a lot harder to get around, trails are sometimes hard to follow, and on top of that; it's damn cold most of the time. It sure feels good to get warm after a hike in the snow!

But snow also has its charms on the trail. We often think of snow as being like a fresh coat of paint. It can change a less than attractive landscape into something both memorable and beautiful.

A recent hike in Yosemite was through an area that had extensive burn damage. It would have been really sad to hike through that on a hot summer's day But in the snow, the black trunks of the trees contrasted spectacularly with the white snow. And the snow had left a layer of frosting on every downed tree and stump, creating some memorable cupcakes along the trail. Snow also creates alll sorts of fun patterns and shapes as it falls and settles. We found this pinwheel at the bottom of a snowdrift. It had clearly rolled down the slope and turned into a wheel on the way. And just like fresh paint, a fresh snowfall will also show every track of every animal that crosses your path. These are encounters that would go by completely unnoticed in the summer...but the snow lets you know just exactly how close you came to seeing a bear on the trail!

Post date: Feb 20, 2012 5:07:52 PM We're back from a quick almost day-trip to Yosemite to explore on snowshoes.

We stayed at the Westgate Lodge in Bucks Meadows. This is a relatively nice, clean hotel that is twenty minutes from the Big Oak Flat entrance station of the park. It worked well for us on this trip--and allowed us to get into the park before 9 a.m. We decided to just hike around the Crane Flat area on our snowshoes.

The first trip took us through the campground out to the Clark Range Vista, which was an easy two miles out to the end of the old road. From here you could imagine seeing the Clark Range, but it was pretty much hidden by trees. So P climbed up the ridge until he could get a clear shot, which you can see at right. It was a serous bushwhack to get there. But we were the only people on the trail that day. And the view WAS nice.And then we went to the Crane Flat store to get a quick mug of hot chocolate.

From there we decided to hike out to the Rockefeller Grove. We'd seen this on the maps for years, and now it was time to check it out. Well, there is a reason that this doesn't get a lot of attention. In fact, we were the only people on the trail again. We know how to pick'em!

The trail is easy, but leads through more than two miles of forest that has pretty severe fire damage. And there are not a lot of views on the way. The first mile is also within easy earshot of the highway... And then when you do get to the's not much of a grove.

We're just happy we did this one in the winter on snowshoes, because in the summer it would be a long hot hike through burnt forest, without much water, and without many views. hmmm. But we did get to see the recent tracks of an ursine visitor. That's ALWAYS fun. As it was, we enjoyed the hike, had a nice picnic in the forest, and wrapped up time to head home for dinner.And this trip also allowed us to dine at the Priest Grade cafe...which was delightful. Well-made home style cooking at prices that are perfectly reasonable.

Post date: Feb 18, 2012 3:29:25 PM We've been aware of a group that wants to take down the dam on the Tuolumne River at Hetch-hetchy and restore that valley to it's previous state. If you've ever seen some of the photos taken before the dam was built, we're sure you were charmed by how beautiful it really was. But we also realize that taking down that dam is a huge undertaking. In fact, today you can still see all sorts of traces of the original project to BUILD the dam nearly 100 years later.

So it's hard to imagine that process not making a real mess of things.And once the dam comes down, of course, the valley is going to take a long time to recover. We were recently at Pinecrest Lake this year, when they had drained the lake for the winter. That's a small lake, and they drain it every year, but we can only imagine what the Hetch-hetchy Valley would look like if that reservoir were drained.

So how do we feel about the whole thing? We're undecided. It sure would be lovely to have that valley back the way it was---if that were possible.But it sure would take a lot of time and money to make that happen, and the process would NOT be pretty.And in the meantime, San Francisco would lose its source of drinking water at a time when the state is looking more and more like the desert it is...We'll certainly keep following the issue.

Post date: Jan 28, 2012 3:05:51 PM P has an old joke that he often told our kids when they were younger. He would announce that we were approaching Fishhook. "What's that?" they would ask. "It's the end of the line," he would announce. And they would groan. But there are times on the trail when it is important to recognize when you are at Fishhook.

We once climbed up to the top of Chilnualna Falls in Yosemite in the winter. The trail was covered in snow, but we were fine until we got to with about 100 feet of seeing the top of the falls. Because at this point the trail had three feet of powdery snow on it, and followed a narrow ledge along a 500 foot drop. And we couldn't exactly see where the trail actually went. We poked our feet around in the snow for a minute or two and decided that we were at Fishhook. The benefits of seeing the top of the falls just didn't justify the risks of having one of us slip off that ledge. And yes, if we'd had hiking poles, or climbing ropes, the decision might have been different. We didn't. So we turned around.What brings this to mind is our recent trip up Fairview Dome in Yosemite. It's steep, and the wind was howling. And because it was January, it was cold. And so we decided that it didn't really matter that we weren't going all the way to the top. As a friend told P many years ago: "Summits are all in the mind."

We've stopped our hike or changed our route many times because of swollen creeks, time of day, or icy or overhanging snow. And we have never once regretted it. When we hear of people getting rescued off mountains, we usually don't admire their courage or their adventuring spirits. We dp find ourselves questioning their judgment, and wondering why they didn't turn around when it made sense to do so.

Post date: Jan 21, 2012 7:38:56 PM If you've read these pages before, you know that we are big fans of getting off the trail from time to time and exploring beyond the sometimes all-too-well traveled trails of the Sierra Nevada. Sometimes the trails are quite elaborate, as this intersection in the Ansel Adams Wilderness shows at right.Some of our favorite trips and destinations in the Sierra have involved pulling out a map and a compass and charting a course that leaves the existing trail system behind. But that doesn't mean we think that YOU should go off trail. You shouldn't, at least in these instances:

1. If there is an existing trail through an area, please use it to minimize damage caused by too many people in the same part of the wilderness. As we say in our section on Leave No Trace: "It’s also a bad idea to cut through switchbacks on the trail. It may seem easier to you, but this creates erosion paths that eat away the trail and ruin it for everyone else. We think anyone who cuts a switchback on a trail should spend a day rebuilding a trail as punishment.It’s very hard work. And it would be so nice if those trail crews could spend all of their time repairing natural damage to the trails and building new ones, without having to spend their days fixing what some idiots broke."

2. Some parts of the Sierra are clearly marked as habitat restoration areas, and have signs asking people to please stay off the lawn, meadows, stream banks or campsites. The National Park Service and the US Forest Service do this to try to give the most heavily impacted areas a chance to recover. If they don't protect these areas, they frequently expand into vast wastelands of bare earth that has been pounded flat, devoid of plant or animal life. That's not what we want in our National Parks. So obey the signs, please.

3. If you don't know how to navigate with map and compass, or a GPS, there's a good chance that you will get lost, and then somebody else will have to come find you. That's embarrassing to you at best, and if they find you after you have died, it's even worse. This is particularly true if you are hiking alone. A recent news story told of a solo hiker in the Northeast who fell and broke his leg. Unable to move, he eventually froze to death before anyone found him. So why does this all come to mind? Well, partly because of the story about the lost hiker. But also because this last weekend we took a hike up into the domes of Yosemite. We had a great time, and spent most of that time off trail.

Only when we returned did we figure out, with the help of some people who are smarter than we are, that we didn't hike to Mariuolumne Dome at all, but the southern face of Fairview Dome. Somehow, in the depths of the forest and with limited visibility, we turned off the trail too soon. Ooops. Now by one definition, we were definitely lost. We were certainly NOT where we thought we were. At the same time, we knew exactly where we were--because we knew how to get back to our car without a second thought. We knew where we were in relationship to where we needed to go next. On a short day hike, not an issue. If it had been in the middle of a nine-day cross country expedition, it could have been quite serious. Which may have led to us being a little careless in the navigation department. Or not. And then when we returned to the parking area of Pothole Dome, we found all sorts of people completely ignoring the signs that were trying to protect the meadows there. The official trail goes around the outside of the meadow, and maybe adds another 1/4 mile to the hike each way. And yet almost everyone was hiking straight across the meadow, even stepping over the ropes that the Park Service had set up to keep people out.

And yes, the meadows were looking much the worse for wear. hmmph. P tried to convince a couple of people to stay on the trail. He was unsuccessful.And yes, that's Mariuolumne Dome in the photo above. No, not the one in the foreground. That's Fairview Dome--the one we were on. Mariuolumne is the one in the center of the photo. The one we thought we were on. grin.

Post date: Jan 17, 2012 4:36:12 PM There are many wonderful highways in the Sierra, and we are not about to try and pick a favorite. (Highway 89 as it meaders through Lassen National Park might get our vote...but we are not voting! But we do have a favorite highway when it comes to the place names that line the route. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Highway 108 to Sonora Pass: visiting Sonora, Twain Harte, Mi-Wuk, Sugar Pine, Long Barn, Strawberry, Sierra Village, Pinecrest, Dardanelles, Kennedy Meadows and finally Sonora Pass.That's a great bunch of names, and each one sounds like it should have at least a short story written about it.

And just off the road you will find Tuttlesville, Columbia, Tuolumne City, and the ever memorable Soulsbyville. Sure, the Sierra is full of wonderful names, from Coarsegold and Rough and Ready to Angels Camp and Copperopolis. And some of our all-time favorites, like Hangtown and Humbug, are now sadly changed to more respectable things like Placerville and Columbia. But can you think of another highway that has so many great names along it?All Aboard! Next stop, Mi-Wuk!

Post date: Jan 17, 2012 5:35:25 AM With the three-day weekend and still no snow in the Sierra, we made tracks for Yosemite for one last adventure before the snows come. So Sunday found us in Tuolumne Meadows in bright sunshine and temperatures that were just about freezing. We parked at the Pothole Dome parking lot and strapped on a day pack. The route was a cross country trek to Mariuolumne Dome and, with luck, up to the top of the dome. The silly name comes from the fact that the top of this dome lies exactly on the border between Mariposa and Tuolumne counties. hoo boy. The first half mile was up a cold and snowy slope to intersect the John Muir Trail to Cathedral Lakes. That worked perfectly, and the snow was so cold and dry that even though we were crunching through about six inches, our feet never got even slighty damp. Once on the JMT, we hiked for about a mile until that trail began to turn more southerly---at which point we broke off and headed due West towards that big white granite blob in front of us. Here the sun had melted those early snows away, and much of the route was on bare ground.Mariuolumne Dome is one of a whole family of huge granite domes in this area, and after only a few minutes, we found ourselves at the southern end of the dome right at treeline. These domes are famous for rock climbing routes, but we were hoping to walk up the more gently sloping southern spine of Mariuolumne. That spine also turned out to be the wind line! Because while we were in the forest, the icy wind that had sprung up didn't seem too bad. But once we were out on the exposed granite spine of the dome, it was blowing like crazy. In fact, it was blowing so hard that we decided to call off our attempt to sneak up to the top of the dome. It was steep, and would have taken considerable concentration to climb--particulary since we didn't have any ropes.

Our rule is that we will climb almost anything as long as we don't need our hands to get up. That way we are pretty sure we'll also be able to get down. And that was true of Mariuolume Dome--except that the wind was blowing so hard that we didn't even try to get all the way up. We stopped part-way up the ridge, snapped a couple of photos, and carefully worked our way back down.The dome will be there next time. And we have all of our fingers and toes. And our noses, which were positively frozen. The trail back down was yet another adventure, as much of the trail had turned to very slick ice. First M slipped and fell, and then P did the same. By the time we left the JMT we had a total of seven pratfalls between the two of us. Luckily, no real damage to anything except our pride.Once back at the car, we walked over to Pothole Dome and walked up onto the top of it instead. The wind was fierce here too, but the exposure was a bit easier, and we snapped more photos, like the one below of Unicorn Peak from Pothole Dome. Done for the day, we wandered back to the car, turned on the heater full blast, and starting driving for home. And the good news is that it looks as if the snows will come, indeed, later this week. We do need the water!

Post date: Jan 7, 2012 5:51:15 AM

Between Christmas and New Year's Day we were up in Yosemite, looking for some nice hikes and hoping to avoid most of the crowds. And we were pretty darn successful. Here are two hikes that gave us hours of enjoyment, and we didn't meet another soul. And yet the trailheads are right in the heart of Yosemite Valley.

In fact, on our way to one hike we heard a couple of people on the shuttle bus complaining about the crowds and the crush. Fifteen minutes later we were alone in the woods, and didn't see anyone else until we returned to the trailhead three hours later.

So where did we go?

lllilouette Canyon: The rangers in the park will not recommend this one. In fact, we know at least one person who was told that you need ropes and climbing gear to get here. You don't. You need arms and legs, and an indomitable will to plug away uphill through some dense brush and really big boulders. And you need to be smart, not stupid.

There is no trail. You start by the Happy Isles Nature Center, and follow the Panorama Trail there up into the canyon. But when you get to first bridge across Illilouette Creek; stop. Do not cross the bridge. There should be a huge water tank on your right. Turn right and go past the tank and keep climbing up the canyon, always staying to the right of the creek. There is no trail. It gets steep. It gets brushy. But you eventually get up above most of the trees, and at that point you have some great views of the back of Half Dome, and up Merced Canyon above Vernal Falls.

Illilouette Falls themselves are lovely, but that's not the real reason for this hike. The real reason is to get away from everyone in the Valley and see a part of Yosemite that very few people have ever seen.

It's only about three miles round trip, but we recommend at least three hours to make this scramble/trip. And be careful. There is plenty of evidence of bears in this area...and if you get hurt up here, it will be really hard to get you out of here. Be safe.

Ribbon Falls: Speaking of getting away from it all...there are people who rock climb all over Yosemite Valley, and they don't see many people at all! This "trail" is a use trail that was created by some of those climbers on their way to climb the Golden Wall--a section of granite just west of El Capitan. They've left a ducked route that you can follow, if you pay a lot of attention, and it goes just about straight up. This is a very steep trail, as these guys don't believe in switchbacks. They just go straight up the side of the canyon, and so do you if you follow them!

But it's easy to get started. As you drive west past El Capitan, look for the dirt road V9 that goes up off to the right. Sometimes you can drive up this--other times it might be closed. Either way, it's not far to the "trailhead." The road switchbacks twice, and just as you complete the second one (near a large woodpile) and turn left to head off on a long straight section going West, look for a small cairn on the righthand side of the road. That's it.

By the way, this road is the old road into Yosemite from Big Oak Flat--and it does run for quite a while to the West of here. You won't meet many people on it, and if you work your way through the slides, it will take you all the way out to the new road into the park, many miles to the West. It's a good choice for an easy Yosemite Valley hike with plenty of solitude. But we were going to work harder than that.

From the cairn, follow the trail as it goes straight up to the base of the cliffs, and you will have climbed up about 1400 feet in about a mile. That's STEEP. It took us more than an hour to climb that mile. Good thing those cairns were sometimes hard to spot---because that gave us a chance to rest and look for them. The trail always stays to the West, left, of Ribbon Creek

But once you get to the cliff, you can bushwhack your way through some California Bay trees to the right towards the creek...and it will take you over to the foot of Ribbon Falls. That's only a hundred yards or so...and then you are out on a rocky slope underneath these towering cliffs, with a waterfall on one side. and the Valley and Cathedral Rocks all in clear view. Yowza!

Coming down is a LOT easier--but take your time. If you get hurt up here, it's no joke.

Post date January 1 2012

It's a new year, and a chance to think about the past and the future. The last few years have been pretty good, but it's part of human nature to want to make things better--at least part of our nature.

So here are few things we think we're going to do next year--in the hopes that they just might make a small difference

1. Get into the mountains more than we did this year. We were frustrated a bit by those heavy snows last winter (although we made up for some of that in our recent hikes in late December) but next year is a whole new story, and we hope to tackle some new trips, new areas, and new adventures. And we hope to see you on the trail.

2. We will also continue to support those who help protect those mountains, from the National and State Park systems to USFS, NGOs, and the many organizations and volunteers who do something to help. Time, money, and energy are all needed.

3. And we'll continue to encourage people to explore the High Sierra. Sometimes we take someone on a trip with us, other times we've just done our part to help them get up the nerve to leave their city fears behind. And the extra equipment we donated to the local Girl Scouts was a good idea---and one that we hope will inspire others to do the same.

4. Every trip we take, we try to pick up some of the trash we find on the trail. Sometimes we can pick all of it up. Other times there is just too much...but we'll keep trying, and we encourage you to do the same. No, it's not your fault. But they are your mountains, and you might as well act like you own them and care about them.

May 2012 bring you much joy and many wonderful trips into the Sierra Nevada.

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