The Little Engine That Could


”I think I can, I think I can.”

There is really only one way to treat elevation sickness … you need to get to lower elevation.

We started our John Muir Trail (JMT) at Horseshoe Meadows near Lone Pine. The drive up was amazing taking us past part of the Alabama Hills and then up 6300 feet in elevation to 9950 feet.  The views of the valley were spectacular.

From there we accessed the Cottonwoods Pass trailhead. Instead of staying at Horseshoe Meadows for a night of acclimatization we decided to head up to Chicken Spring Lake for a short afternoon hike of 4 miles … up to elevation of 11,240.

The First Three Days Are The Toughest

For the first three days you are working on routine, figuring on how to set up/take down camp and carrying your heaviest pack weight. Add to this a (un) healthy dose of altitude sickness and in spite of fabulous scenery you begin to question your sanity.

The second day we headed to Rock Lake elevation 9820 and the third day to Crabtree Meadow at elevation 10320.

We debated turning around … many times …



Published by

Victor Doerksen

This blog is written to be a kind of virtual trail guide to those who are already into hiking and trekking .... and an inspiration to those who are just beginning to contemplate extended hikes/backpack trips. Hiking is AWESOME!

6 thoughts on “The Little Engine That Could”

    1. Well … you can hire them … but it’s a little out of my price range. They were hauling in gear for a large group of hikers.


    1. Experience does not remove risk … only helps you to manage through the ups and downs a little better (that’s the “official” answer). Doerksen knees are holding up better than I thought.


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