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Wasted youth and a fresh set of lonely stars


What follows will be a narrative, I guess. I'd have to look up the definition to know exactly what that is. It'll be a personal recounting of the days and events as I remember them. I'll also post whatever notes I took, if any. And I'll try to throw in tips, lessons, hints for anyone (and myself) who may be hiking this trail in the future.

This adventure was made unique given the fire and that it cut of access to the valley, where the proper trail starts. We met a couple of other hikers starting when we were and they opted to hike down to the valley to the formal trail head, and then back up the John Muir Trail to Tuolumne Meadows.

We'd hiked a portion of this section and given the time line and conditioning level (not high) we opted to leave from Tuolumne Meadows. We spent our first two nights there in the campground getting ready. We watched the sunset from Lembert dome. We watched the sky turn red from a combination of late day sun rays and fire. We watched the smoke flank the northwest horizon.

One of the biggest unknowns was the weather. 7-14k feet in the Mountains of California in September…I had no idea what to expect. A week or two before we left, some other hikers posted a photo of the first snowfall on Mount Whitney.

You can almost always bet on a rogue thunder storm. I felt adequately prepared. Our final days in Yosemite we bought a couple of random things to bolster our supplies. Here's my gear list as best I recall. Lindsey can add in her equipment as she sees fit.


Base components

  • Osprey Exos 58 liter pack
  • Thermarest Neoair sleeping pad, regular
  • Marmot Arroyo 30 degree down sleeping bag
  • North Face Mica 2 tent
  • Bear vault BV400


  • Esbit Titanium Stove
  • Snow Peak 900ml double wall titanium cup
  • 1 liter Nalgene, yellow.
  • Platypus Big Zip, 3L
  • Sea to summit long aluminum spoon

Camera Gear

  • Targus aluminum tripod
  • Panasonic Lumix G5 with 14-45 lens and 45-200 lens
  • 3 extra batteries
  • 64gb memory
  • Intervelometer
  • Steripen Adventurer
  • Goal Zero Guide 10 Solar panel
  • Custom built REI Backpacker First Aid kit


  • REI Sahara shirt
  • Mountain Hardwear Portino shorts
  • Mountain Hardwear Canyon shorts
  • REI baselayer top and bottom
  • Icebreaker merino socks x4, other merino socks x3
  • Icebreaker boxer brief 250g x3
  • REI Revel cloud vest
  • Patagonia Down Sweater
  • Mountain Hardwear beanie
  • Stoic eVent rain shell
  • Kayland Zephyr boots


  • Light load towels
  • Tom Harrison Map pack
  • Black Diamond Icon headlamp
  • Casio sgw-300h watch with altimeter, barometer, thermometer.
  • Rope
  • Lighters
  • gerber multitool
  • compass
  • chapstick
  • food
  • signal mirror
  • emergency blanket
  • trash bag/pack cover

Lindsey (things not already on the above list): 


  • Gregory Deva 60 backpack
  • REI Sub Kilo 15 degree sleeping bag (for women) 
  • Thermarest Scout sleeping pad (procured from the Tuolumne gear shop after the unfortunate death of my Big Agnes Air Core) 
  • Komperdell antishock light trekking poles
  • Cocoon inflatable pillow
  • Cocoon silk sleeping bag liner
  • Snow Peak 700 ml titanium cup with handles and pour lid
  • Prana and REI convertible pants
  • REI midweight space dye baselayer pants
  • Two Columbia sun goddess shirts
  • REI primaloft vest
  • Patagonia down sweater
  • Turtle fur hat
  • Outdoor research sun hat in white
  • Leatherman Skeletool and small flip knife
  • Black Diamond Headlamp
  • Under Armour Base Layer shirt
  • Buff
  • Pee Rag

I may be forgetting a few things. As I go on, I'll add or mention them as I remember. If I remember. I'll review most of the things on the list in some form or fashion. 

Fully loaded


Best since Day 1.