I started backpacking about 50 years ago when my best friend Danny and I "camped out" in nearby Double Rock Park at an impromptu campsite.  Camping there isn't legal and probably wasn't then.  We used a heavy cotton pup tent and blankets carried in an army surplus pack that was way too big for little boys like we were at the time.   The pack wasn't the only thing that was big, it was also a big adventure to be sure.

Since then I have backpacked on and off, but it has not usually been my primary form of outdoor recreation at any given period of my life.

I fell in love with the Yosemite , Kings Canyon, Sequoia area when Erica and I bike toured through there in 2010.  The scenery there is absolutely spectacular and on a scale unlike anything I had seen before.  We entered the Yosemite Valley through a tunnel by bicycle and coming out of the tunnel to see the valley was surreal.  I knew the valley would be beautiful, but I was awestruck anyway.  The experience of riding around a bend in the road and unexpectedly seeing a giant sequoia was similarly breathtaking and further whetted my appetite for the area.

Largely due to all of that, I decided to do the John Muir Trail this Summer to celebrate retirement.  I have a permit reservation to start at Glacier Point on August 2nd.  The permit also allows me to climb Half Dome.  I plan to drive out and spend some time to acclimate to the elevation.  If I can get a walk up permit I might decide to start sooner and maybe at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. 

The current plan for the JMT is to plan is to pack like an ultralight backpacker, but add two pounds in the form of a tenkara fishing rod, a knife and stuff for preparing fish, and a nice camera.  I plan to start with a moderate, but building pace and finish the last half at an aggressive pace to keep the pack weight down for that section with no easy restock points.

This video has me even more psyched about my trip out west to hike the JMT. I plan to take my telescope in the car and use it before and after the backpacking trip. I also plan to take in the Perseid meteor shower (with the naked eye) during my hike. I expect to be at quite high elevation for that so there are likely to be super viewing conditions unlike anything I would experience at home in the mid Atlantic region.

For more info about my upcoming trip check out the following links: