Meeting people in the backcountry | High Sierra Topix  

Meeting people in the backcountry

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Postby yosemitechris » Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:34 am

In the summer of 2002, when my son, Will, and I were midway through our second JMT hike. We stopped at the confluence of the Middle Fork Kings River and Palisade Creek to rest. We met a fellow there completing a weeklong crosscountry backpack. He said "are you Will? Are you Chris?" We answered "Yes". Like - how do you know that? He had recognized from our website jmt2k.com. We talked for quite a while and exchanged email addresses. We still keep in contact occasionally. He was cool.

Chris



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Postby coasterjim » Mon Nov 14, 2005 4:06 pm

markskor wrote:“Dude, good luck…and…, Have you ever been in a sweat lodge...I think I am gonna make one for us tonight.” (Whatever that was…)


This is classic! This guy should be on Survivor :lol:
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Postby Shawn » Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:32 pm

I am often out solo and enjoy seeing others - seems people get friendlier the further away we are from the trail head.

The first time I went cross country in Kings Canyon I was scrambling up some rocks at the upper end of Sphinx Creek when I looked up and saw someone coming down. Not wanting to startle the other guy, I stood still until he was sure footed and just above me. Now in my mind at the time I was r-e-a-l-l-y out in the the backcountry so I was surprised to see anyone (I know better now). Anyway, we had a nice chat on that upper headwall and exchanged some route info.

The next day I posted a message about this "nice chap" and my trip on the Yahoo group 'californiahighsierra'. Later that evening there was a reply fro the board moderator (Dan) who said "Hi Shawn, I'm that nice chap you met". What are the odds I thought.

Sure hope to meet some of you in the mounatins!
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Postby ndwoods » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:25 pm

Couple years ago we had done a multi day trip and had been off trail for days. We just popped out on the trail and were headed up Forester about 7am when this guy came down and was walking past us. I looked at him and he at me and we both puzzled a minute before realizing we used to work together 10 years ago!!! Was pretty cool, great to see him again. Who woulda guessed we'd meet there tho!
dee
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Postby doug395 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:30 pm

I discovered the Sierra and photography at the same time and just developed the habit of traveling solo. With all the torment I go through in trip planning, there is no better feeling than locking up the car, putting on the pack, double checking the car, then letting go and stepping into the trail. I sort of hear a voice saying ”were in”, from that point on it’s a unique awareness of blending in and antiapating what is not yet seen. It’s always interesting meeting people in the backcountry; a welcomed pause to echo the appreciation of being there, those encounters stick with me along the way. I would guess many of us have met without knowing it. On a trip to Ediza lake, I ran into a couple with 2 big dogs near Shadow Lake, I must have been complaining about my pack weight, they handed me the leash and let one of the dogs pulled up the hill. After seeing Buck’s wedding pictures, I think that was the Buck’s.
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Postby SSSdave » Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:41 pm

I've backpacked many years in the Sierra as a photographer. I prefer backpacking with a few friends however not having anyone along has never stopped me from going solo and creating my own great time. And when solo I always enjoy running into people who have a knack to yack. Especially those who have a lot to say about the mountain environment and places. Sometimes I will meet such people around places I am camping at and we will talk at length. On the trail one often passes others that are ready for a rest stop and I am usually game for a bit of conversation as long as I am not stressed from a difficult climb. Fishermen of course like to trade stories of how the fishing has been in such and such lakes and what they saw and caught. Bear stories are what grabs the top interest of everyone else. And I'm always keen to engage backcountry rangers in a long conversation if possible. A great way to do that is to start by talking about how one has been breaking up a bunch of fire rings which is something I regularly do. They always can provide interesting information on how people are treating the wilderness and their experiences with those they meet which is something I have endless interest in. And climbers often give me great clues about passage over difficult obscure routes over ridges near their peaks. Nothing like a good conversation about how horribly monstrous the talus was the way I passed high above Goethe Lake...

...David
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Pancakes anyone?

Postby coasterjim » Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:44 pm

I was thru-hiking the JMT two summers ago with a fellow. He had hiked most of the JMT at various times and wanted to do it all in the same season. He told me a story of when he was ascending one of the passes (I think it was Mather). His group was approaching the pass when they smelled pancakes. A little further up, there was a fellow who was set up on the side of the trail cooking pancakes for all hikers. The man was apparently on a sabatical/mission and decided to hike to the top of a 10K' pass and make 1000 pancakes, complete with various flavored syrups and cold orange juice for anyone who wanted them. He had the grill, batter, juice and whatnot packed-in. That would definately make my day!

Anyone else here run into this guy?

Jim
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Postby krudler » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:15 am

Only in my dreams!
"Krusty, you know Bette Midler?"
"Yeah we own a racehorse together - the Krudler!"
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Re: Pancakes anyone?

Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:09 pm

coasterjim wrote: His group was approaching the pass when they smelled pancakes. A little further up, there was a fellow who was set up on the side of the trail cooking pancakes for all hikers. The man was apparently on a sabatical/mission and decided to hike to the top of a 10K' pass and make 1000 pancakes, complete with various flavored syrups and cold orange juice for anyone who wanted them. He had the grill, batter, juice and whatnot packed-in. That would definately make my day!

Anyone else here run into this guy?

Jim


I ran into a guy just below Selden Pass, above Marie Lakes. There were friendship flags and tarps set up, and it was raining. This guy was from Berkeley, and was in New Zealand and experienced the pancakes, syrup and tea. He wanted to carry on the tradition in the Sierra and had mules carry the equipment most of the way, he and his friends carried it the last 5 miles. It was a treat! We were on day 3 of a 5 day trip, but bailed because of the nonstop rain and bugs.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby Buck Forester » Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:14 pm

A few years ago, when I used to take the summers off to backpack the wildest and remotest areas in the lower 48 states, I met this legendary guy (I didn't know it at the time), "Mario The Mountain Goat". I was camped at an insanely remote and difficult to find lake, way up a wild canyon in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Not only is it difficult to find this lake high up in a cirque headwall, with a zillion similar looking cirques along the way, once you do locate the correct area to ascend, you climb up a deadfall-infested mountainside through dense forest, which is steep and brushy and you have to plow your way up through brush and around deadfall while precariously grabbing roots and branches. After about a mile and half of this steep stuff you stumble into an opening near the gorgeous forest-fringed lake. I've been there twice now and both times I nearly gave up. But I was rewarded with a dream lake with huge cutthroat trout. Cast after cast I'd nail 19"+ fatty cutthroats, as easy as catching overpopulated brookies in a Sierra lake. The second time I was there, solo with my dogs, I was in my camp in the morning when Heidi and Sierra gave out a "woof", which is very rare for them to do. They hardly ever bark. I looked up and there was a grey-bearded man headed my way. I met up with him just outside of my camp. At first he was very stern and gruff, pounding me with questions like, "how'd you find this place?", "where are you from?", etc. After we talked for a bit he warmed up, I think he respected me and my determination and my love for finding the wildest places, and he went on to tell me he's been coming to this lake for 20+ years and has never seen anyone else here and was very surprised I was able to locate it and get my backpack up there. He day hikes from the canyon below, camped with his mule, which amazes me that he can get his mule through that canyon and crossing the big creeks and through the brush. What was especially cool is that when he said he's known as "Mario the Mountain Goat", right then I looked up at the craggy ridge behind him and saw a beautiful, shaggy white mountain goat, high up on a huge rocky slope so steep I have no idea how it got there. I didn't see any ropes so he was obviously free climbing. When I was back down in town a few days later, in the Bitteroot Valley pumping gas in Hamilton, still grungy, I was talking with someone else at the pumps and I mentioned meeting this old, bearded, stout man who called himself Mario The Mountain Goat, and they knew exactly who I was talking about and referred to him as a "legend" in the Bitterroots. It was a pretty cool experience!

It's good to see he's still alive and well and active, as this article I just found states.
http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2004 ... news02.txt
Last edited by Buck Forester on Fri Dec 02, 2005 4:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Nov 30, 2005 8:51 pm

That's VERY cool!

I hope I make it to 70! I hiked last Saturday with a 70 & 73 y/o! These guys are tough!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby sierranomad » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:58 pm

Enjoyable reading! I only go solo. Rosie summed it up very well. When solo I can stop and enjoy the scenery when I want to..and do it without worrying about conversation. I can push myself and work up a good sweat without concern about leaving my partner behind. Flora, fauna, vistas, star-filled nights, wild storms...all are more intense when it's only you and mountain.

I met an interesting fellow at the end of a trip in the Yosemite Valley backpacking campground. The campground was full when he arrived, so he approached me to see if I wouldn't mind sharing my site (of course, I didn't mind). He had eagle feathers in his hair, made his own gaitors, used plastic coke bottles for carrying water, etc. (Reminds me of the fellow mentioned earlier that made the "sweat lodge"). A real interesting guy. Claimed to spend more time on the trail than at home, and I believed him. Had a nice chat that night, and shared some insight with him on Yosemite food, etc before parting company the next morning to catch the shuttle back to my car.
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
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