surprise backpacking trip

9:50 a.m. on July 18, 2015 (EDT)
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My old college roommate from 1971 is coming out to visit from Florida with his nice wife. We played basketball together in high school and always did a lot of backpacking in the old days and floated the Grand Canyon about 2002.

He is not bringing an camping equipment but traveling like a tourist, staying with us and some time in motels. I am going to surprise them by taking them on a short backpacking trip at 9,000 feet. Coming from Florida, I think it is important to dazzle them with the sunsets, sunrises and vistas of the Sierra.


10:21 a.m. on July 23, 2015 (EDT)
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No responses on this one. I think of it as a gift I am giving old friends. Backpacking is more than a sport or type of recreation. It is a mental health plan. Be generous about it and take a kid backpacking. Take a newbie, and definitely take your old hiking partners when they don't expect it.

11:51 a.m. on July 23, 2015 (EDT)
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I think this is great.  in that your friend is from Florida and in his 60's, based on the date you gave, i would be mindful of the terrain and altitude.  9000 feet is an adjustment for people who live near sea level.  also, if he's 'traveling like a tourist,' it still might be worth making sure they have decent footwear for a hike of any length.  

i just reconnected with one of my best friends from high school; we talked about getting together to hike or cycle at some point.  (we're pushing 50, both reasonably fit but plagued with the typical aches and pains).  

1:54 p.m. on July 23, 2015 (EDT)
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Earlier this summer we did our company campout at Lake Alpine (7500 feet) and I was quite surprised to see that out of about 25-30 people who attended, a couple of them were quite uncomfortable because of the altitude, and one of them was among the older folks on the trip.


I'd have a fall-back destination that's a little lower, just in case. 

6:49 p.m. on July 23, 2015 (EDT)
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That's great I have a Military buddy I haven't seen that would like to do some backpacking with me this spring coming up..So I am trying to meet him at a halfway point for both of us..Lookin like the Smokey's...Have a good time..

2:52 p.m. on July 24, 2015 (EDT)
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Thanks for the caution and support. My friend is one of the best athletes I have ever met. He walked on at the Univ of Maryland and made their basketball team. Altitude does not seem to bother him much. His wife is 10 years younger and in great shape. We are only going in about 3 miles to take it easy on them. 

3:36 p.m. on July 24, 2015 (EDT)
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I would DEFINITELY think of a trip to the Sierra as a gift! :) Very nice of you, ppine.

3:58 p.m. on July 24, 2015 (EDT)
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hey no kidding Ashleigh, any Sierra trip is special. after I get done touring a few other ranges I really hope to see much more of that one

10:07 a.m. on July 25, 2015 (EDT)
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We are spoiled in the Sierra with great weather. I used to backpack in the Cascades and the Rockies, and both are much more challenging when it comes to weather. There has been lots of rain , and the creeks are flowing again. The fall will be spectacular. Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes.

4:56 p.m. on August 3, 2015 (EDT)
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The Sierra are a special place for those who go out of the way to be thrilled there.  I expect your friend will treasure that time with you. That is a special thought. 

Many visitors to our family are usually more interested in the major attractions in Southern California, to which we support and at times provide transportation (wouldn't miss taking the 'unwashed' to Venice Beach on a Sunday morning).

Some are here to get some beautiful hikes and back packing in.  Most have never been in the Sierra before and look forward to it. It is always a grand surprise in the mid summer with enough time to get permits.

Others (we have lots of relatives) along about the last two days or so,  have seen everything celebrity oriented and amusement parkish, then mention that a hike in the Sierra would be great and what did I suggest.  For planned guests I emphasize that the Sierra is not a day hike and that they should plan on several days and include it early on in the visit. The  long lines at the tourist attractions would help rehab the over worked legs and feet.  The local mountains are dryer and closer (and hotter).

For those who are more on the demanding edge of getting on my bad side - and fit - I suggest we load up the car about 4AM, have breakfast in Mojave, get on the trail at Horseshoe Meadows (at 10,000' or so) about 9a and hike the 6-7 miles up to Cottonwood Lakes (11,000') for a late lunch.  Bum around some until the altitude starts kicking in and then head down to the car by around 6PM.  Lots of grease and sugar for supper on the road and home by midnight.

When it is a last minute 'ah ha'  on their part it usually means their flight leaves a few hours after we get back from the day hike.  All along they have said they are in shape for anything we'd  be able to do at our age and probably would be an easy trek - implying that we'd be wussies if we didn't accommodate them.

Its not so much we don't want them back but I detest being called an old wuss.

I can't imagine it would be a comfortable trip home confined in an airline seat for several hours.

January 19, 2020
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