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Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.

Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby maverick » Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:11 pm

As the season has come to an end for most backpackers, did you learn anything
new when it comes to backpacking? Any life changing or altering experiences?
Did anyone have an experience with mother nature that now gives you a different
view, or increased your respect for her?
Have any interactions with fellow backpackers, HST or not, that may have touched
your life, positively or negatively? In what way?

The highlights of my season where meeting and getting to know fellow HST members,
not only as members, but as human beings from behind the computer screen, which
will hopefully lead to some life long friendships.

Our search for Matthew Greene in the Minarets enforced my beliefs in mankind, that
not all are driven by greed, seeing people volunteer their time and effort to bring
closure and peace for a fellow mountain man's family who they never have met, is a
testament to this.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member:

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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby balzaccom » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:28 pm

Nice post Maverick.

This season was a tough one for us. Between some health issues, travel plans, and too many other things going on, we only took four backpacking trips this summer...

And that has lead me to take a more pro-active approach to planning our summer of 2015. Yeah, we'll have some other travel plans, and other things...but those will be schedule AROUND our backpacking trips, not the other way round!

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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby Jimr » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:31 pm

I made three trips in this year and took away something from each.

I had a very memorable week long experience hiking with a total stranger. This was only the second time in my Sierra scrambling where I had a partner who was both well versed in back country travel and comfortable to be around for a long period of time.

Meeting fellow members in the back country and enjoying their company was very fun and I am glad to have met each and every one of you. I look forward to seeing you again as well as meeting more who didn't make it this year. I really don't have any personal friends who backpack, so it is difficult to get partners or even share stories with people who know what the hell I've experienced.

I learned that my son may have an issue with altitude sickness, but I don't know if it was a glitch or a permanent feature of his make-up. My last partner had to stop going with me after two trips because of altitude issues.

Searching for Matthew affected me deeply. Perhaps because of my own family experience when my son and I failed to return as planned. I felt the same way when Larry went missing. My wife asked me both times how I could be so disturbed over a person I didn't know. She just doesn't understand... she just doesn't understand.
Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby rlown » Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:45 pm

I took away a bum patella and an ankle that i'm not happy with after the old farts meet up. This better be a better year. Zero trips this year. And job issues. I'm not jaded. This could be a great year coming up. Now we need a real winter.

Then the magic happens.
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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby sparky » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:16 pm

I didn't learn about backpacking this year. I only went on one backpacking trip in April. But I did learn how it doesn't matter if you are by a remote lake surrounded by majestic peaks, or in an urban area surrounded by loved's all good. Instead of backpacking I attended birthday parties, weddings, batchlor parties, weekends with my lady, and 2 vacations involving hotel rooms, fancy dinners, dancing ect.....I got to admit while I dearly missed the Sierra this summer (I did get 2 car camping trips in) it was refreshing to pay more attention to loved ones. Especially the little ones summer birthdays I always miss.

My one backpacking trip was pretty exciting though. Snow, rain, lightning, yogi trying to get my picnic basket, smoking a number with two beautiful ladies on eagle peak. Good times.
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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:35 pm

Normally I start biking and doing coastal hiking in January to get in shape for the season. This year my "getting in shape methods" were quite different. I had full-time care of my 5-year old severely disabled granddaughter for 7 months. Tons of lifting and hours of pushing a nearly 50-pound kid in a stroller while hanging onto a leash with a border collie! My daughter came to retrieve our little angel in April and I made up for lost time by backpacking like a maniac all summer! My dear husband understood I needed to reward myself so never complained. I learned I can take on nearly any chore/stress in the winter as long as I can cut loose and backpack all the summer.

Sierra trips were May and June - Yosemite, Emigrant, Hamilton Lakes-Five Lakes-Tablelands. I spent all of July and August in the Wind Rivers in Wyoming. Got in two more great trips in the Sierra when I returned- Minarets and Humphreys-Royce-Bear Basin- Granite Park. Met a new backpacking partner and that is working out well. What I learned? What I already knew was just reinforced- the weather in the Sierra is a degree of magnitude less stormy than weather in Wyoming. Always a shock to get back into real mountain weather and get slapped about by Mother Nature. Skeets also grow bigger in Wyoming! Definitely appreciated the high Sierra when I returned! I also finally did the infamous Pixley and Tourist Creeks in the Wind Rivers -both similar to the Enchanted Gorge - remote, rough and quite the challenge. Learned I could still do this kind of travel, even in horrid weather.

I figure I broke even on the cost of my fishing licenses this year (California and Wyoming Wind River Indian Reservation license). But at $5+ a pound to buy fish, I did not have to catch that many to break even. What I learned? Maybe I was lucky but it did not seem to matter a lick what I had on the end of the fly line - the fish went for it.

Saw 4-5 bear - less than normal. No matter how many times I run into bear, they scare the heck out of me. There will never be "learning to like bears" for me. Give me an elk or moose any day!

I wore out a lot of gear this summer. Good sign- not only did I get in a lot of miles and nights to wear out that gear, I get to buy new stuff this winter!
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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby toejam » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:31 am

Since emigrating to California, most of my backcountry adventures happen in the chaparral above Santa Barbara between September and June. Those rough trails, brushy ridges, and shady camp sites are part of my soul now. It's been my privilege to voluteer 148 hours on those trails so far this year, besides sneaking off to enjoy the hills several other weekends.

I got to see a new side of Mt. Shasta this year.

My big trip was to Mt. Rainier in Washington. I got some great instruction to raise my skill level, climbed the mountain without a guide and camped on top, had a conversation with George Dunn high on the mountain as if I were a real climber, and got to meet Lou Whittaker. The best part of the trip was having an excellent climbing, hiking, and camping companion.

I only got one trip to the Sierra, but it included some really challenging hiking & climbing, the most idyllic camp of the year (on the upper reaches of the Kern), and unexpectedly meeting a friend of a friend and someone who's blog I followed.

I'm still strong and my gear is better than ever, so I have a lot to be thankful for.
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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby oldranger » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:35 am

10 day solo trip Agnew Meadows to Silver Lake, 7 day trip to Woodchuck Country with Markskor, 11 day trip Ansel Adams and Upper Merced with son Matt, 3 day trip to e.side Lake with Markskor. About 8 nights in Mammoth between trips, two nights in Yosemite Valley and one at Tuolumne Meadows with grandkids who had never been to Yosemite, 5 day trip in Sawtooths with Kathy.

What did I learn: Trust my judgement and risk being too much of a mother hen and I would have saved Markskor a painful sunburn. My son Matt is maturing nicely and we had the best backcountry trip ever. Don't think he lost patience with me once for my slowness. He is also becoming an excellent backcountry off trail navigator. Kathy is becomming more sensitive to elevation which means we need several days of acclimatizing before we can embark on trips over 8,000 feet. Approaching 70 I am developing some anxiety that each summer may be my last and wonder how many more tough off trail trips are in my future. On the other hand I am thankful that, as of today I am still capable of such trips.

Damn I love this forum and all the great discussions. I apologize that I can be a bit curmudgeonly but It comes too many years of passion for the backcountry.


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Reflecting back on this 2014 Season

Postby SSSdave » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:50 pm

I only did 3 backpacking trips this year much like last year primarily because the droughty conditions haven't made the effort worthwhile. Two with bros and one solo, Convict, Kearsarge, and 20 Lakes Valley. However also went out on 36 multi and single day road trips dayhiking so have continued to be quite active. For instance was up dayhiking in the big north coast redwood parks a week mid May.

The major change backpacking was from carrying my Wisner 4x5 Expedition view camera system to a Sony A6000 24mp mirrorless digital camera system with a Gigapan Epic robotic head. That dropped my 5 to 8 pounds on average from the otherwise crushing weight of my pack making me a bit frisky with new life. And have built up quite a few large stitched images of Sierra landscapes though only a few have been posted on the web publicly. Outside that pretty much same ol same ol for the old guy.

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