Thank you to my bosses at work that allowed me the time off! I am forever grateful.
And finally a massive 'thank you' to our family!
Thank you to Francine Maurice (my mother in law) for feeding my husband and puppies, and for cleaning my house while I was away! Lol you're a saint!
Thank you Darcy (brother), and Grandma & Grandpa for looking after the farm while we were away!! We could have never left without you guys!
Thank you to my wonderful Mother... for your encouragement and help looking after the houses, my dogs and flowers. Also, thank you for the spending money! It came in so handy! P.S. We really missed you.
Thank you to Nathan (husband) for everything. From letting me go on the trip ;), driving us to the airport and back, looking after the home and pups and being there for me. Love you to the moon and back.
AND . . . Thank You' to everyone interested in this trip. Your encouragement and excitement made it less nerve racking for us... and it was a joy to share.
We both really want to extend a few personal 'thank yous' to some individuals that really helped us out planning for this trip. This trip was made easier due to your help and enthusiasm. We feel loved and lucky to have done such an amazing lifetime trip and we will cherish our memories of it forever.
Thank you Kristy Cranley for your sweet connections and getting me hooked up with a US Sim Card, and for the pepperoni sticks (delicious) and mini toothbrushes! You should be on the Apprentice!
Thank you Donna Ray for the light weight sandals and all your enthusiasm! Love you!
Thank you to Bill and Elaine for letting us borrow the bear bells! We forgot them at home but we're glad we didn't need to use em!
Thank you Pearl Trubridge... I would have never gone on this trip if it wasn't for you. I didn't think it was possible to booked the time off work and you encouraged me to try, and encouraged me to go! I will always remember that! So glad I went! Love you oxox
Touched down safely on good old Canadian soil at 4:00pm. And we made if off the plane, through customs and in the car by 5:00pm. Huge 'thank you' to Nathan for braving the zoo of people around the airport to come collect us. Love you much!!
12 August 2018
Might have to buy this!
Delta, why are you so cool?!!
12 August 2018
Another coincidence is when we arrived at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino we found out that the Hot August Nights 32nd Classic Car Show was on! Yep..parked right outside was over 6000 classic cars! Dad was in his glory! Needless to say, we only got a few hours sleep.
Right after Delta topped our cake....and we were heading to catch our hotel shuttle, we heard someone yell, "Chris.. Cassie!" We turned around and who did we see?.. but Joseph, Lucas and Anna! The siblings we met coming down on the ESTA two weeks ago! They just so happened to be at the airport, at the same time, at the same location! We laughed so hard! Some weird coincidences man! We were happy to see they were all okay and enjoying their trip! You guys are great! All the best on your next adventure!
Arrived in Reno without crashing the rental! After dropping off the car at the airport we headed inside to see if it was possible to purchase tickets to fly home. We went to the Delta Kiosk and two of the most accommodating employees helped us. And when I mean accommodating, I really mean it! They were more than happy to help us get tickets and find the best 'bang for our buck'. They were both fairly new so they had to call someone to assist them. After purchasing our tickets and us saying our goodbyes the one employee asked what hotel we would be staying at. We said that we didn't have a place yet. Well... she called us back over and booked us a room at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino... fully paid for it AND gave us meal voucher tickets! Ummm unreal! I cried. Definitely the cherry on top and best end to our trip!! The room came to $378! I am forever humbled and grateful to receive such an act of kindness.
Thanks Tammy, Matt and Tyler from Delta for being so freaken awesome!
Road tripping calls for a fun poem!...
We Said Hello
We said hello to the mountains below,
having climbed Mt Whitney from Crabtree Meadow.
We said hello to each sunset,
and welcomed the mornings with no regrets.
We said hello to each challenging day,
having hiked through snow that didn't melt away.
We said hello to the fresh mountain streams,
as we smiled in the last rays of sun beams.
We said hello to each ride we got,
and the memories of each individual will not be forgot.
We said hello to the smoky mountain air,
as fires raged close, it didn't seem fair.
We said hello to those hiking by,
everyone was so friendly and we knew exactly why.
We said hello to each cool day,
knowing every well that they would never stay.
We said hello to the Lembert Dome,
it was so tall we could almost see home.
We said hello to the ants on the rocks,
as we sipped our coffees and dried our socks.
We said hello to a vacation away,
forgetting our responsibilities and just enjoying our stay.
Took the free Mammoth trolley to Hertz car rental today. Rented a cute little silver Rio Kia and now we are on our way to Reno NV to hopefully book a flight home. We are extremely pooped from our adventures and we can't wait to get home to our families.
Got to sleep in a real bed last night and have a real nice shower! Best!
10 August 2018
We hit Sunrise Lakes and than Tenaya Lake. It was beautiful here but the smoke had blown in more than ever now. We decided to continue right on out to the highway to catch a ride down to Lee Vining. An incredibly nice individual, Haneesh, stopped after only 30 mins! He was up in the mountains on a mini vacay doing some long exposure night sky photography! He showed us some pictures and they were absolutely amazing. The milky way never looked so beautiful. Great hobby!
A few shots of the lower trails through the beautiful Meadows! Here the trails are so worn that they have sunk right down!! It's nice when your path in life is clearly marked ;)
At the top of the pass we heard some weird noise. Moments later up over the mountain comes a mule pack team with supplies. They bring supplies to the Ranger's cabins and any hikers that paid to have supplies delivered right to them on the trail! These are amazingly strong animals, that climb the roughest of trails! Way to go team, you put me to shame.
Behold, Cathedral Pass! Nature's church!
Missing Lottie, Daisy and Nathan. Love you guys.
9 August 2018
Hiked today closer to Yosemite. The Ranger at Tuolumne said it should be okay. So Dad and I packed up and left. We wanted to see Cathedral Lake, and did we ever! This place is a treasure among treasures. I feel like we are standing in a National Geographic special edition spread! We set up camp beneath the towering mountains and washed up in their beautiful basin. This place is below 10000ft so it should be a comfortable sleep tonight. Planning on another mountain pass tomorrow. So it's bed early tonight. Oh, and did I mention that we have the entire lake to ourselves! How lucky are we? At least the fires are good for something (driving people away).
P.S. God is real.
Have you ever walked miles down a beautiful beach? I have! But there was no beach. Ugh.
Another spectacle right beside the lodges are the Soda Springs. Here fresh carbonated water bubbles up from way down below. Very neat!
Did another short slack pack morning hike to see Parsons Lodge and the Mcauley cabin in Tuolumne Meadows. Lots of history here, and the spot John Muir made a plan to preserve this very land. He succeeded in 1890! Thanks John, it is beautiful.
8 August 2018
Another added benefit to hiking Lembert Dome was meeting Dave McNaughton! He is an athlete, nature lover and a young hearted individual who shares a similar liking for beer. We met him on the peak of the dome and talked all the way down. In talking we found out that we had crossed paths more than once on our journeys. I actually recalled seeing him on the Mt. Whitney trail! We also stayed at Red's Meadow on the same nights! I've always wondered if some of the friends I have today have ever crossed paths with me before, but we just didn't know it. I was so happy to recall seeing Dave on Mt. Whitney.
But Dave hosts a trail running group back at his home in St Louis. He loves running and seems to always be on the go. He even made it up Mt Whitney from the portal entrance and back, all in one day... this is an insane feat! He did it in 15 hours and was disappointed....!! I told him it would have surely killed me!! Way to go Dave! You are an inspiration.
We heard that Yosemite is still closed and might be closed for the rest of the season due to the fires... We are so disappointed being only miles away from one of the most beautiful National Parks in the world. We even have a permit to climb Half Dome but won't be able to use it. Upon hearing this news first hand from one of the Rangers here we decided to spend our afternoon hiking up another dome.
Here is Lembert Dome, a relatively easy hike for an elevation of 850ft. The trails leading up to the peak reminded me much of the trails back home in Ontario. We hiked hills instead of mountains and stepped over roots instead of rocks. It was refreshing with an unreal view at the top. But not going to lie, I had to crawl at some points when we got to the actual dome. It was a long way down boy and Dad kept reminding me of just that.
After being dropped off by Leah and Gerry we still needed to go another 12 miles to hit Tuolumne Meadows. Leah had hiked the JMT before and told us to get a piece of cardboard and write Tuolumne on it, and we should get a ride in no time at all. She was right! We waited only minutes until David and Heidi from Oakland picked us up! They were also amazing individuals! We cannot thank everyone enough for the kindness they showed towards us. Our hearts are full. Thanks for the laughs and all the help. We made it to camp by 2:50pm!
Shuttled back down to the lovely town of Mammoth. And decided to try and hitch hike to Tuolumne to spend the night. I hate hitch hiking, so after only 30 mins I told Dad I just can't do it. The moment we gave up was the very moment an amazing family from Oklahoma pulled over and said hop in! They had a car full of kids but made room for us. It's people like them that make this trip so special. Thanks Leah and Gerry! You guys are fabulous!! (grey car)
In one picture you can see a helicopter in the distance lowering to get more water. Constant fire fighting going on around here. Best of luck guys!
7 August 2018
Finally we reached Rainbow Falls! It was crazy to see in this dusty dry place such a beautiful sight. We were too hot to hike the 0.5 miles down to the very bottom to see the rainbow 'over' the falls ... the rainbow in the mist was reward enough!
At the end of our hot dry trek dad and I shared a celebratory Sierra Nevada beer. I was a dumb dumb and accidently spilled about 2 dollars worth of my 4 dollar beer. Bummer.
Along this same trail we entered Ansel Adam's wilderness. Here there was much carnage! A fire which occurred in 1992! Scary. The landscape was barren. The smoke in the air today makes this past event very real.
Along the trail to Rainbow Falls we came across this unusual sight. It was a huge up rooted tree stuffed with pinecones! We heard others say it is tradition to add a pinecone to this collection, but just one.
Dad recklessly tossed half a dozen up ontop of this tree's roots to try and get his to stay at the peak. The lady watching was offended. However, I think the only pinecone of his that stayed was the one he was pointing too.
Here is Minaret Falls! Beautiful to see in person maybe boring in pictures lol!
Couple shots of us along the trail! We got so hot we took off our dusty boots and hopped into the shallow water for a cool down. We also came across Joe's old cabin foundation from 1870's < very cool. Also, there is one shot of some bubbling water, this is carbon dioxide being released from the depths of hell, however, it is not hot to touch. Unlike the hot springs.
Went for a 4.5 hour slack pack hike today to see Devil's Postpile, Minaret Falls and Rainbow Falls today. It was one of the hottest and driest days I've ever experienced! So glad I didn't have my heavy pack on.
Here are a few pictures of The Devil's Postpile. It is a geological wonder, where lava has cooled in a hexagon formation. Kinda looks like a bunch of match sticks. On top of one mound of 'rock posts' you can see they have been sanded down by a glacier scrapping them to make this amazing smooth dome with a cobble stone pattern. Just amazing to see.
6 August 2018
Had to throw our original itinerary out the window a few days ago and we are now on an alternative itinerary. There were a few unforeseen factors such altitude sickness and these insane wild fires. We hope to still see as much of this beautiful place as possible but we just don't know how much. Yosemite is currently shut down as the fire they originally thought was contained got out of control. We feel a lot of regret not being able to do a complete thru hike but we understand that plans always change and life happens. Still, we are both so unbelievable grateful to be here now experiencing this trail first hand!
We are currently at Red's Meadows camp site after commuting up here and you can see and smell the smoke in the air! Crazy! We were also able to pick-up our resupply pale and meet a few fun people. The best part of it all, however, is I got an actual shower!!! Feeling clean tonight! They also have coin laundry machines, so fresh clothes are on the menu tomorrow!
Once we were down the mountain we had to hitch hike again. This time we waited a little longer, 15 mins! < not long at all! Mel and Esht from Denmark were kind enough to pick us up and take us almost all the way to our next destination! We later caught the ESTA, Eastern Sierra Transit Authority.
Worked up the courage to hitch hike again. Didn't have to wait long, only about 5 mins! Rock climbers Russ and Rod (they call themselves R & R) picked us up and took us down the mountain! They even offered us apples (hope they are not poison) Thanks dudes, you're cool X 100!
Hitch hiking is common around here in backpacking country!
I feel like no one will give us a ride with me hitch hiking like this.
Met this amazing woman named Sandy Becker the other day. She has climbed Mt. Whitney 33 times, ran 50 mile races, one 100 mile race and I now spends her retirement taking people for free tours up the mountain. She said she's going on an 80 mile hike with her niece soon too. She is 80 years old, full of expertise and looks like one hardy woman! However, last night in the group camp, we heard some noise. Turns out a bear came through here and attacked poor Sandy's hiking bag. The bear must have smelled where she spilled crystal light on her bag. Sandy said in all the years she's come here that has never happened to her. Just goes to show you, you can never be too careful.
Sandy was able to repair her bag and continue her quest for another summit with a small group. The group made a sign for her when they summit either today or tomorrow. This will be her 34th summit!!!
She was also nice enough to leave her contact info so can message her later about our trip
5 August 2018
Turns out hiking in the sun with rocks to amplify the rays gives you quite the tan ... and sunburn. Can't see it well in the picture but my hands are red from holding my trekking poles. I also spared ya'll the picture of my face, neck and ears. Not going to be a fun night sleeping with my body on fire.
We were so happy after our 4 hour decent down the trail we reached Trail Head Camp! Here they have it pretty cushy. There are actual toilets, a store, running water, picnic area and a small portal restaurant! We didn't waste time to get a burger, fries and beer! Amazing! We also met up with our friends West and Sarah; from L.A., whom have been with us most of the trip thus far. We never planned on traveling with them but we seem to keep bumping into each other! We sat with them to share a celebratory lunch. Their company was more than welcomed!
The hike down the mountain was covered in switch backs and rocky trails. But the views coming from about 12000ft to 9325ft were amazing. Still snow in spots and bright blue mountain lakes! Unreal! We didn't start to see trees until half way down.
Here are a few pictures of our camp site at Trail Camp. We both didn't sleep well and I woke up with my entire face swollen. Unsure if it was the altitude or something I ate but we were glad and sad to leave this place.
4 August 2018
Coming down from Mt. Whitney was a little bit of a challenge. We had already done thousands (jokes) of switch backs going up to the summitt and now we had to do what seemed like thousands more to reach our camp. We were low on energy but glad to be going down.
In these pictures you can see dad having a snack, the switchbacks and our camp in the rocks at the bottom of Mt. Whitney.
Here is Dad calling his favorite person ....his wife (my Mommsy) from the top of Mt. Whitney. He missed her so much.
SUMMITT! We did it! Coming over the last bend and seeing the iconic hut we've seen so many times in photos was a surreal feeling. We were actually here in the flesh. The air up there was so thin we couldn't stay too long. The views were outrageous and almost indescribable. The weather was perfect.. storms can come up so quick here but all we saw were clear blue skies. It was incredible to see that we were above all other mountain peaks. We had seen the mountains only days before from our ant view on the ground and now we were standing tall on what seemed to be top of the world. Another added bonus to this climb was the hope of cell service, and we got just that! It wasn't the best reception but we were able to phone home to some of our family and friends.
Also, to our surprise we did this trek on National Summit Day! Hahaha go figure!!!!
P.S. Slack packing up to the Summitt of Mount Whitney was amazing! We felt as sure footed as mountain goats and as nimble as jack rabbits ~Dad
Along our ascent over the mountain we hit a junction called Trail Crest. This is, and was, a super exciting moment for my Dad and I! We made it to the start of the Mount Whitney trail. This trail would lead to the Summitt which is a staggering 14505 ft above sea level! Most people ditch their heavy hiking bags at this point and 'slack pack' it up the 2 miles. We did just that. But not before marmot proofing our bags. Anything tasty smelling had to be put in your bear canisters and the canisters had to be taken out of your hiking bags to prevent the marmots from ripping holes through your bag. We saw dozens of hiking bags at this location.
Here are a few pictures of us leaving Guitar Lake. You can really see why they call it 'Guitar'. Wanted to also show everyone what our hike looked like. We literally had to pass over a mountain! Trails were on the edge which made it hard when someone needed to pass you or if you wanted to look down... made you very dizzy ughh. We were soo glad to have our trekking poles..they really become extentions of your arm.
Cooler morning today but it's making the coffee taste real good. Fueling up for another grueling climb. Going from 11800ft to 13484ft. Feels like we might hit outerspace. Do we ever go down?
3 August 2018
Some more mountain pictures, babbling mountain streams and sunsets.
Dad getting more water for us before the sun goes down.
Dinner tonight! One of my favorite meals thus far. I actually might do it up for dinner one night when I get back home. ;)
The rocky areas are riddled with these fuzzy critters. They are called marmots and will eat holes through your tent and packs in search of food. They also like shiny things so you must watch your cell phones, flashlights ext. They make a loud sharp chirp sound... and I feel they work in packs like raptors. One distracts and the other goes in for the kill. Tonight we will be burying one of our food packs tightly under a bunch of rocks.
P.S. they look like seals.
Short day today getting to Guitar Lake and our camp site is out of this world! Delighted to see such a beautiful clear mountain lake being fed by fresh mountain water. Couldn't help myself, I went for a swim..despite the cold temperatures!
Had a late start to our day. We needed time to recharge our bodies. The altitude is really doing a number on us. The more we climb the thinner the air seems and the weaker we get. With our heavy hiking bags; which dad likes to refer to his as 'Big Heini', we take it one step at a time. Here you can see the large steps that literally kill my calves but I was glad to see steps here nonetheless.
Feeling spoiled to have camped in this fairytale place tonight. Surrounded by mountains in this beautiful hidden meadow high in the Sierras. The rushing mountain stream lulled me to sleep but not before Dad and I star gazed. The stars here are incredibly clear and so so bright... funny how you can be far away from home but find some comfort in seeing the same constellations you see back home. A sense of familiarity and a feeling of connection.
2 August 2018
What a gem to see one of these. I'll poop like a king today!
Made it to our base camp tonight! And here is our view! If you don't believe in God this place might change your mind! Was surprised to see a whole bunch of campers here. It must have well over 20 people! Everyone seems so happy and I'll be excited to wash my underwear tonight (hurray for the near by stream)!
Today was another trying day as we made it through to Crabtree Meadows. Here are more snaps of the Guyot Pass. The elevation is insane but the view is amazing! Our bodies are feeling every pound of weight on our backs today. And the altitude is making it extremely difficult for us. Air is thin and the our muscles need it to carry us onward. We get tried so easily.
Woke up today and heard the faint sound of babbling water. After a little searching we found a small creek next to our camp and we were able to replenish our water supplies! Soon after we headed out we crossed Rock Creek, followed by the Guyot Pass; which was another 1000ft of elevation, and made it down into the Guyout Meadows.
Our hike after the storm turned a little dangerous. In hindsight we should have maybe stayed on the mountain where we were..but the altitude was bothering us and we were all hyped up to go. We hiked hard and decided to bypass Solider Lake and go straight instead, stopping at a little water source along the way to camp. We soon found out however, the water source located on the map had dried up..we were met with a decision to make, with only a few mouthfuls of water left..hike on and reach the next checkpoint or backtrack. We hiked on. It was getting late and the sun was setting. We had put on our head lamps and warmer gear. We hiked in the dark until the trail got too hard to see. There was now a lot more snow on this side the mountain and I managed to capture some melting run off... just enough to substain me. When we found a spot to camp it was 9pm! We had NOT made it to our checkpoint and there was no water... we melted snow for dinner. Exhausted and beat we went to bed @ 1030pm
1 August 2018
After the storm had mostly passed Dad and I decided to pack up camp and try and hike a little farther since we were now way behind schedule.
Currently we are 'nesting' in our tent... we just made it to Chicken Spring Lake when a thunderstorm blew in.. We decided to NOT pitch our tent but continue hiking until we climb high enough to see what was coming, here is when we 'chickened' out. We 'scrambled' to get our tent up, having heard terrible stories from others of the wicked flash storms that mother nature can brew.
We managed to get in our tent right before it began to rain. The rain seemed so loud and the thunder shook our bodies....the temperature dropped and that’s when it began to hail. Thanks MEC tent for withstanding mother nature’s wrath.
Here is Cottonwood Pass... one of the most beautiful and strenuous things I have ever seen and done. I don't know if it was the altitude, my anxiety or my lack of hiking experience but I got a little dizzy on our ascent. However, we were sure to take breaks and boy did we reap the rewards!
So here we are... Trail head... the moment my dad has been thinking of for years... very special moment filled with anxiety and anticipation. But we are putting our best foot forward. Don't know if we can make it to the end... but to have a chance to experience these breath taking mountains and have a taste of the JMT is an amazing feeling.
Got another shuttle, this time from SherpaMax; who has done the John Muir Trail 5 times! He's a knowledgeable little man with a lot of tips. The road up to the 'trail head' (beginning of trail) was something to see... it whined around and through the mountains and climbed up, up and up! .. my ears were popping and my heart was racing... long way down boy! Went from 4000ft to 10,000ft.
Hitch hiked down to the visitor center just a mile south of Lone Pine. Very nice man named Fredrick (from France) must have thought we wouldn't murder him.
Here we picked up our permit for the trail... but not before the Ranger looking up our registration (Joel) accidently typed in the wrong code and said our permits were canceled... we pooped our pants a little before he realized his mistake. Thanks Joel for re-checking.
Pictures don't do much justice but waking up and looking at the horizon was a treat.
31 July 2018
Lone Pine California, pre-hike refreshment.
Bus ride friends, Joseph, Lucas and Anna from Vancouver. Best of luck you adventurous family you!
Stunning views from the road. If I were a cow, I'd pick here to graze.
Some scary sights from our shuttle. Forest fires surrounding us. You can smell the smoke.
On our merry way again! Taking the 6 hour Eastern Sierra Transit Shuttle down to Lone Pine California. There we shall stay the night and sleep one last time in an actual bed before we begin our adventure.
Shuttle update: Not going to lie, we are actually pissing our pants right now (..don't let our smiling faces fool you). Pretty sure our driver hates his job and wants to kill the lot of us. He's driving like it's 1999 folks. I'm laughing cause if he doesn't crash, Im sure our bus will shake to pieces!!! Like omg!! I can't even type! Seat belts now on!
Quote of the Day
Time passes so quickly, you literally don't notice it until it begins to show.
Please don't wait to go on a trip, eat the chocolate, watch the late movie, read your favorite book, or take a chance in life, the time is now.
Don't live passively live passionately today while there is still time.
Tomorrow is promised to no one. Live your life.
-A quote Dad liked :)
Thought it was just going to be a hot day seeing the haze in the sky this morning but found out it was actually smoke from the wild fires raging around Reno Nevada.
30 July 2018
And we're off! Zoom zoom!
Off to the airport and running 45 minutes behind schedule ... thanks to me. We were about to get on the 401 when I realized my cell phone was missing! Gahh! Drove back to the house and found it laying in the driveway.... literally cooking in the hot summer sun. Just goes to show you, no matter how prepared you think you are.. life is a tricky Sally.
29 July 2018
Well... it's the day before we leave and I finally feel at ease with our gear and food options. However, our packs are a whopping 44lbs and 42lbs... about 10lbs overweight!!! Gahh but this is because we are carrying 12 days worth food and normally hikers like to carry 6-7 days worth. But once we cross the border into the states we will be able to downsize some of our food again. We'll be able to remove items from their original manufacture packaging and carry only what we need from them.
This is our complete itinerary!!! Hope we can make it!
26 June 2018
These two things are our bear barrels. They are required along parts of the JMT... and Rangers will be checking! These barrels are bear proof (I hope) and should stop hungry bears from devouring our food when we sleep at night. Hope we can fit everything in.
25 June 2018
This looks like a mess... because it is. We have yet to organize our snack and gear tables to see what is highly necessary to bring. TIP: When hiking with another person it's good to check that you are not doubling up on certain pieces of equipment.
For anyone who has ever done interior camping ya'll know you need to pack light and efficient .. This camp trip will be a test of our packing abilities.. With 12 days before we hit our first 'resupply' checkpoint we will need to be carrying about 25 pounds of food for our first stretch. ...... >At least our packs will get lighter each day.
Here is an incomplete picture of how we went about organizing our food prep. We organized each day's food into breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks are not included in this photo.
23 June 2018
Welcome to our John Muir Trail (JMT) photo journal!
We thought this photo journal would be a great way to share our trip with friends and family 'as it happens!' So anyone interested in our journey please feel free to follow along! We are glad to have you.
For those of you who do not know, my Dad and I are embarking on a 211 mile thru-hike starting July 30th 2018! We will be ATTEMPTING the John Muir Trail located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. With an expected 24 days of hiking and an elevation gain of about 47,000 feet we are definitely going out of our comfort zone in search of something we just can't put our finger on. Our souls are hungry and appetite for adventure is peaking. Here's to the journey. Wish us luck!