This trip was my first at backpacking. Backpacking rocks in that you're able to get to (extraordinarily beautiful & majestic) places you can get to no other way - to where cars have no access - to places with no roads for many miles - to where you see animals like bear & quail in the wild.
But (I found) you pay a price for the ability to spy all this grandeur, with no one else around. It's cuz that pack on your back is pretty dang heavy, especially if you, like us, took lots of heavy food, like cans of tuna & beans.
Freeze-dried food is the best, but also most expen$ive .. and if you're feeding lots of hungry teenagers, you can go broke. =). Dehydrated is next best. But we had the heavy stuff, and lots of it. Seemed like I carried most of it. =)
I read a beginners book on Backpacking during the trip, cuz I hate being a rookie in things.
Had cuts on each hip where rivets of the (old, borrowed), backpack cut into me. After 3 miles of carrying that beast, it started hurting like hell. Made some adjustments with the straps that seemed to help. I heard it's best to get fitted with a custom pack if you plan to do it regularly.
Kicked my butt, backpacking that first day - picked up a pair of nice blisters, too. Packing-in all that heavy food supplies for several days worth of backpacking was tough, but you get strong fast - [& sleep like a baby =) ]. Feeling strong like that is great.
Everyone came back from the vacation with cuts, blisters, empty Advil bottles, & sleepy smiles. Posting these pix is a reminder of what it was like, only days ago.
Still waiting on for the pix of the hike to the top of HalfDome - that's the best part of the vacation - & most grueling. 17-mile round-trip. Climb 4800' elev - almost a mile of vertical, in one day. Takes all day. Up at 4:30, drive to trailhead, eat PowerBar, fill hip-pack with couple bottles of water. Away you go. Wendy & I take herbal stimulants (called Go Fast) to help give us an edge with the kids, teenagers, with teenager legs. Must be nice.
Found ourselves in a forest of 3000-yr-old Giant Sequoias, on the last night. Full moon night. Mystical. These trees are the largest living organisms on the planet, and second in age only to the (up to) 4600-yr-old BristleCone Pine. Think about it; that's 46 centuries of living .. in the same spot, through lots of different times.
Walking around these things that were living before Caesar, Moses, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras. Kinda mind blowing. Makes you dizzy to look up at 'em. I didn't bring my camera there cuz it was too late. Evan did, tho. Maybe I'll scan some of his pix.
This was Evan's & Brenden's first HalfDome climb. For Wendy & I, and Lani & Jahmar, it was our second. We hope to get a few more people for next year's 3rd-annual HalfDome hike.
We planed the trip so that we'd finish with a full moon. Rules were, no shaving on the trip. All the guys got scruffy.
Hope these pix don't choke your modem. We have a Cable modem, & are admittedly spoiled. Most images are 30-60kb, with one as high as 100. These are not nearly the bandwidth-decadent hogs posted for last year's vacation pix, for which we max'ed out the quality setting in Photoshop. The pix posted here are set to half max - but, I think, still look good. Perhaps you can compare with last year's & see if you notice a diff in image quality. They are also generally smaller. We set our desktops to 1280x1024, which makes images look small, but most (I read) are still set to 800x600, or maybe 1024x768.
All pix taken with an Olympus Stylus (pocket 35mm), held together with tape from being dropped so much. Scanner is an HP 6200Cxi, 1200dpi, USB.
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First scan: Wendy with GL1 (Yosemite pix)