While I've been a day-hiker for as far back as I can remember, I didn't truly get into backpacking until college. I owned many of the essentials - $20 backpack from K-mart (with magnesium frame!), duck-down mummy bag, dehydrated hamburgers, even a home-made mountain tent! - but I had only read and dreamed of remote places to visit. When the Portland State University Outdoor Program announced some trips in the summer of 1979, I had two excellent choices: the Wind Rivers in Wyoming or the San Juans in Colorado. I chose the former and had a wonderful time, learning the basics with minimal suffering and upgrading my gear over the years in the quest for truly comfortable backpacking.|
For the most part, the 1980s did not provide any extended trips, but I did reach some Northwest sites of note near Mt. Jefferson, Glacier Peak and the Three Sisters. The decade culminated with a 1989 dream tour of the High Sierra, where I accomplished more than I had dreamed possible (especially with one day trimmed off the schedule)! Now I was truly hooked!!
The 1990s found me in deep granite several times, and four (OK, five) consecutive trips closed out the decade. They were a tough '96 trip with my first dose of cross-country travel, a fun yet challenging '97 trip with my brother Larry, a flashback tour of the Wind Rivers after a nineteen-year absence and the shocking 1999 cross-country monster. While the y2k trip was no cakewalk, it was much less strenuous than 99 and the rest-day was spent fishing below the southwest wall of Mt. Darwin! I've made a special effort to select a Big Trip for years ending in 9, to commomorate that first Big Trip in the Wind Rivers; the '09 event should be a real doozie!!
If the new millenium started in '01, it started with a bang: a nine-day tour of the North Fork Kings! It was great fun with a new group of hikers culled from a few hiking websites, and we all proved compatible and had a great time. It was followed by both a bang AND a whimper, as the exhausting 2002 trip captured another North Fork - this time the San Joaquin - with plenty of Yosemite Park on either side.
This page links you to stories of these trips, more generalized memories and stories, and personal notes and hints of what I've learned along the way. Happy Trails.