As I pulled up to Scott’s house 30 minutes early, I realized I had left my bear canister in my refrigerator at home. By the time I made it back to Scott’s, it was 6:01 AM. I hopped in the van, and began the long drive to Sequoia National Park. About 15 minutes into our drive, the van died…. This set the precedent of our entire trip. We were met with obstacle after obstacle, but we took each one in stride and laughed about it along the way.
In total, we hiked roughly 80+ miles. We began at the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia and finished at Whitney Portal in Inyo Notional Forest. On our first day of hiking, we took a few detours before making it to the actual trailhead (I wanted to visit Tharp’s Log). Little did I know that as disappointing as Tharp’s Log was for everyone, it would become the cornerstone of jokes for the next eight days. “That’s it guys, pack it up! We are heading back to Tharp’s Log!” By the time we finally hit the trailhead on that first day, we had already hiked about six miles, and had another nine miles to go before reaching camp. Plus, Nick had already broken his backpack hip strap.
Along the way, we met a man with a giant blue teddy bear on his backpack. “Bear Man” would eventually become a part of our tribe. Finally, after a long 14 mile day, we made it to where we planned on camping….except there was already someone camping there, and clearly no room for all 14 of us… I waited for Giovanna to bring up the rear, and I could see the dismay in her face as she rolled into “camp” only to find me sitting next to the trail with my backpack still on. I told her and everyone else as they limped their way into a circle, “you guys do whatever you need to do to physically and mentally prepare yourself for another mile or two.”
We laughed, I screamed, they cried, at times we felt like we were going to die…on a number of occasions, I had to “shut it down.” We made some really cool friends along the way and made fun of Boy Scouts at just about every opportunity we could. This was one of the most epic adventures I have ever been on. I wouldn’t change a single thing, except maybe running towards a bear to scare it away, only to find out it was “Mama Bear”. I have never been charged at by a bear before, and never been so terrified, but luckily I remembered to do everything by the book. Once I overcame the fear of running away and stood my ground, she actually backed down. I was very satisfied to look over and see that my entire group was sitting in their sleeping bags and had witnessed me have a stand off with a bear. I had become the real “Bear Man.”
Day 1 Dorst Creek Campground – 0 miles
Day 2 General Sherman Tree to Buck Creek – 15 miles
Day 3 Buck Creek to Hamilton – 5.1 miles
Day 4 Hamilton to Moraine Lake – 13.8 miles
Day 5 Moraine Lake to Junction Meadow – 15.6 miles
Day 6 Junction Meadow to Guitar Lake – 11.7 miles
Day 7 Guitar Lake to Outpost Camp – 14 miles
Day 8 Outpost Camp to Lone Pine Lake – 1 mile
Day 9 Lone Pine Lake to Whitney Portal -1.5 miles
Day 10 Shady Rest to Poway – 0 miles