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Sierra '01 - Firsts, Bests, Mosts

First Internet-Arranged Trip
I belong to several on-line hiking clubs, and the Sierra clubs are filled with Californians who regularly head for their beloved hills. I posted a note in January and was immediately contacted by a Sacramento resident who offered to join me for a week in the wild. An on-line flight was booked at a decent price, and it was time to get serious! We tossed routes back and forth via e-mail, finally settling on the North Fork of the Kings River for our journey. Neither of us had been there, and the heights of the LeConte and White Divides were high on my list of places to visit soon. In late May we vaguely announced our intent to one of the clubs; immediately several members contacted us, joined up, and helped hammer out the details. Some had to drop out, but a couple stayed around, and at last count four of us - Jim, Frank, Del and Dan (plus possibly Bill) - were set for a week of off-trail fun.

Earliest Trip
The trip would start July 7, about a month earlier than my usual starting time. This fit nicely with my other plans for the year, and the below-normal snowpack politely retreated well before my arrival. Several items would be new this year, ranging from sleeping bag and raingear to a different tent (more precisely, the fly and poles from a new tent).

Weirdest Training Regimen
My training was both bizarre and unpredictable. A mid-May 105-mile bike ride proved I was in decent shape, but a strenuous day-hike on Father's Day did some damage to my 'trick' knee (the trick is that it's the ankle that's misaligned - see the '96, 98 trips). After resting it a week or so I was knocked down in the yard by our exuberant dog, straining it again!

Lighest Big-Trip Pack
The good news was that, with new gear and more 'filtering', my pack was about 42 lbs including cameras, a good 5-8 pounds lower than for recent big trips. While several items were lighter, the big-ticket items included a lighter sleeping pad (though still full length), down sleeping bag (1# fill) and sticking with the rainfly/poles combo in lieu of tent. The weight went up slightly just before takeoff, when I read the 3AM weather discussion that promised rain; that report brought out the parka and rainpants to replace the coated-nylon poncho.

Longest Trip (Days)
This nine-day trip beat out the '99 event by one day.

Longest Solitude
After about 9AM on day two, we saw NOBODY on this trip until we reached the car at 4PM on day nine. My belief that all west-side trailheads would be crowded with people was shattered for good.. for now.

Longest Mileage?
This isn't entirely clear, thanks to conflicting calculations. We went about 70 miles, perhaps as much as 74. Since the record belongs to '89 and is also marked as 70 miles, I'll have to look into this one a little more?

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