Friday, September 10, 2004


So, here we are, five years later. Ian, my intrepid hiking partner, suggests we give backpacking another shot. A discussion begins with some local trip ideas, and perhaps a loftier goal to train for. I have a brilliant idea: why don't we attempt the High Sierra Trail again?

A pause.

After the last time, didn't we agree to never go there again, even if someone suggests it in five years?

Yes, but this time it will be *different*. We'll research, we'll train, and we'll lighten our load. We both agreed to commit to a year of preparations, and came up with the following goals:

  1. learn how to get our packs to a respectable weight
  2. work out regularly
  3. two training hikes a week
  4. come up with a more realistic itinerary for the trail

I'm proud to say that we accomplished each of these goals, as detailed below:

  1. Learn how to get our packs to a respectable weight.
    The Internet proved to be our most valuable resource for this. Lists were made and revised, equipment was weighed down to the gram, and judgements were passed on each others' choices. No punches were pulled here, and our packs got to below 35 pounds for a 7 day hike, including food!
  2. Work out regularly.
    Our routines differed here, but mine involved 3 weekly gym workouts, consisting of 35 minutes of stairmaster/eliptical, 10 minutes of stretching, 10 minutes of free weights, and a 15 minute rowing or cycling session.
  3. Two training hikes per week.
    Once a week after work we did a 45 minute steep mountain hike up Mt. Finlayson in Goldstream Provincial Park, then every Sunday we went on a longer but more leisurely hike, usually with friends, to various parks around the island.
  4. More Realistic Itinerary.
    On the first attempt, we attempted to spend ten days on the trail, going from Crescent Meadow to Mt Whitney, then all the way back again, for a total of nearly 130 miles with no resupplies. This time, we decided to spend 7 days on the trail, and only go one direction. My wonderful girlfriend Rebecca offered to drive all the way down from Victoria to meet us at Whitney Portal, and drive us back across the mountains to pick up Ian's jeep.
Onward, then, to the trail!