Down the Up Staircase


“It’s the Golden Staircase, or The Escalator, or Hell.”  Unknown Hiker Describing the Golden Staircase

The Golden Staircase (not to be confused with the Chilkoot Trail) is a series of tight, seemingly unending switchbacks that ascend the north side of Mather Pass … it reminded me a little of Walters Wiggles in Zion Park without the smooth surface. We hiked on “Orthopedic trails” … our description for trails with rocks and uneven surfaces designed to keep Orthopedic Surgeons occupied with foot, ankle, knee and leg injuries.

We were going down the Golden Staircase.

Continue reading Down the Up Staircase

Zero Day

Kearsarge Lakes

Zero Day = Hiking day with zero miles hiked. 

I was ready for a Zero Day. We had hiked over Forester Pass and then had a seven mile diversion, off the JMT, over Kearsarge Pass (elevation 11,800) down to Onion Valley to resupply in Independence.

Continue reading Zero Day

One Step at A Time

Its a long long road to freedom

A winding steep and high

But if you walk in love 

With the wind on your wing

And cover the earth

 the songs you sing

The miles fly by

The Path to Forester Pass – Elevation 13,200

As we began day four our heads were clearer, our pace was stronger, and our confidence returned.

Over the next 2 days we emerged from high elevations to even higher elevations.  Kinda reminds me of the old joke.  How do elephants get into trees?  They jump out of higher ones.

The vistas became panoramas … hope the few pictures give a glimpse of the awesomeness.



Sixty pounds. What was I thinking?

Here we were at the beginning of the famed West Coast Trail in June 1999 for our first ever backpacking trip. The experts say you shouldn’t pick the West Coast Trail for your first backpacking experience … ha, what do they know.  We’d updated our last will and testament, told our kids we loved them, and packed everything except the kitchen sink to make room for the scrabble game and off we trekked.

Continue reading Grams

Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine


“How old do you think I am?” he said
I said, well, I don’t know
He said, “I turned 65 about 11 months ago.”
I was sittin’ in Miami pourin’ blended whiskey down
When this old gray black gentleman was cleanin’ up the lounge
There wasn’t anyone around ‘cept this old man and me
The guy who ran the bar was watchin’ “Ironsides” on TV
Uninvited, he sat down and opened up his mind
On old dogs and children and watermelon wine.

Tom T Hall

I turned 65 about 10 months ago, and uninvited, I share my mind on old hikers, the John Muir Trail, and visiting Lone Pine. Continue reading Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine