Trisha took Devin, Luke and Garrett to the trail head for the John Muir Trail, a 20 day, 199 mile hike through the California Sierras High Country – a lifetime dream of mine that I am having to experience vicariously only through my son. I never even came close. Since I am on a business trip in Florida, I was not able to take the boys myself, but Trisha sent to all the parents this message. Here it is, without asking for her permission:
Left to right: Devin, Luke and Garrett
I promised the boys that I would send out an email to all of you confirming that they arrived safely and started their trip as planned! Since there is a fine line between “they all got off just fine” and giving you every detail that lead up to their first steps onto that trail, I decided to divide the email into two sections. To the “Dads” and to the “Moms”. Based on comments from the boys, they knew that their mom might ‘worry’ more – and therefore might enjoy some of the details. And perhaps the dads might just want to know the basics –“ Did they get there or not?” Enjoy, Trisha
To the Dads:
- We left the house around 7:30 and drove non-stop to Lone Pine, where we dropped off Luke’s car and had lunch.
- Next stop was the Mammoth area where Luke, due to car restrictions,, had to take a shuttle into the area where their food box was to be stored.
- We arrived at camp around 6:30pm, set up tents, and had dinner.
- Tuesday morning by 8:15, everything was packed up and I drove them to the ranger station to get their permits.
- By 9:00 – they took their first steps onto the JMT for an adventure of a lifetime.
- They have plenty of food, have prepared well and will have access to lots of water along the way.
To the Moms:
I arrived at the house at 7:00am to see the boys quite tired after a long night of packing and last minutes preparations. I don’t know what time each went to sleep, but I believe the last one to hit the bed was Devin at 4:00am. Needless to say, they would sleep tonight.
We managed to drive close together on the way up, and met at the Subway in Lone Pine around 12:30 for lunch. Though exhausted, their excitement became evident as they ate their footlong sandwiches and started to discuss what they would eat as soon as they got off the trail! We parked the car at a small town hotel, where it will be waiting for them after their hike.
The weather was at least 85 degrees, hot and dry, as we took off to Mammoth where their box of trail food would be stored. Feeling confident that we were making good time, we arrived at Mammoth at 3:00 with plenty of time to deliver the food box and get to the ranger station by 5:00 to pick up the trail passes. However, it turns out that due to car restrictions into the access area, Luke would end up taking the $7.00, 40-minute shuttle ride (each way) into the area for the food drop. In the meantime, Devin, Garrett and I relaxed on the deck of an outside restaurant and marveled how different the ski resort looked like in the summer.
An hour and half later, with Luke back with the group and map in hand, the boys navigated us up to Tuolumne Meadows campground. Even though the campground was full, there are several “walk in campers” campsites for hikers. There was a fire pit, bear proof food storage, bathrooms and tent sites. I parked my car (though illegally) by the other campsites and set up “house” in the van. By this time, the boys were chomping at their bits to start their adventure. Soon the tents were pitched, sleeping bags rolled out — and bug repellent was generously applied! Since our arrival, the mosquitoes were making their debut in groves attacking every chance they got.
After camp was set up, we enjoyed chips, salsa and guacamole, and a bottle of red wine I brought up. Devin cooked dinner and the boys feasted on hot chili with spices and fresh vegetables. I ate the other half of my subway, and was amazed at how well they had prepared for their meals on the trail. Apparently the only thing that they forgot – was the butter! Butter + Camping = who would have thought?
Dinner was followed by a small campfire, light conversation and they were tucked in by 9:30.
Tuesday morning ,7:30am I woke to a knock on the window and a smile from Luke, returning the food I had stored in the locker. Temperatures dropped to around 40 degrees but the first night out was a success for the campers. When I met up with them, they were ready to go with backpacks full and smiles on their faces, albeit perhaps a little anxious about what was ahead.
We (LOL – heck no, THEY) loaded their 50lb+ packs into the car then we drove one mile down to the ranger station to pick up their passes. While they adjusted their packs they asked me to send you their love and pictures of their send off. In addition, Garrett asked to please give them until August 2 to arrive – before you begin to worry mom! Depending on the hike, they might take an extra day on the trail or at the end. Also, please do not feel offended that they wanted to drive themselves home. It will give them a chance to wind down, absorb the experience and be on their own, before they are ready to share all the details (and get their stories straight – I say! LOL) We’ll all be excited to hear about the trip details when they return home, but I bet some things “that happen on the JMT” will stay on the “JMT”!!!
At 9:00 am, hugs were shared, smiles were once again ear to ear and the backpackers hit the trail.
To Moms and Dads:
As I watched them walk away, at that very moment, I pictured each of you watching your son prepare for the first day of school, then sending them off with love, pride and concern hoping that they will do well on their own; knowing that they will be forever changed. And now, as young men – they were about to get an education of a lifetime.
I was honored to be the one to drive them up to Yosemite. I learned that these three young intelligent men are products of wonderful parenting and homes full of love and support. They are each very mindful of the world around them, have tender yet intelligent hearts, and have a quest for adventure.
Yes, they will do well.