Wednesday, June 11, 2014


My day-to-day life is great. I have no complaints. I love my job, my wife, my kids, my friends and all the fun that life throws at me.

But vacation is still a huge mental reset from the work grind, and I am craving it just about now.

Good thing for me... a hiking vacation starts tomorrow.

You may recall that epic two-week hiking trip to California that I took a couple years ago with my two sons and our buddy Will.

We're doing it again, with some adjustments.

Only three of us are in on this one. Will is sidelined with a knee injury that has him out of the hiking game for now. His presence will be seriously missed. The guy has singlehandedly taught me how to enjoy an entire hike, rather than just the peakbagging elements of it. He's a Zen-like presence that also comes with one-liners that leave us paralyzed with laughter.

Next time, dude. No excuse will be good enough.

Speaking of Will, I still don't know what's going on in this photo.

We are also not headed up Mount Whitney. I've done that 22-miles-in-a-day round trip three times in ten years, and my sons have done it twice (23 y.o. Kevin) and once (19 y.o. Sean) respectively as well. We decided that we didn't want to spend five days doing super-scientific altitude acclimatization hikes, then a very full day hauling our carcasses up and over that giant hump of rock that we've seen so often before, and then another full day recovering. We'll save all that for next time -- 2016? 2017? 2018? something like that. Will has never made it all the way to the top of Whitney and he has a date to sign the summit register one of those years.

Instead we are focused on an almost entirely new batch of Eastern Sierra hikes over the two weeks that we are out there. Some are in Yosemite, some scattered all around the area served by U.S. Highway 395. All have varying degrees of "epic" written all over them.

But lots of other things will be the same: the same condo rental as last time in Mammoth Lakes, CA; the same frequent trips to Ben and Jerry's, to that crazy Lee Vining (pop. 222) Mobil station with the amazing restaurant attached, to the Base Camp Cafe, and to Black Velvet Coffee, purveyors of the best damn coffee I have ever tasted; and the same great opportunities for bonding with my kids.

Shit, when I was 23 (or 19), the last thing I wanted to do for fun was hang out with my dad. I'm lucky that they feel differently.

So we're off.... Vegas first, for just long enough to wolf down some burgers with my friend Ben, and then get the hell out of town (we do not like Vegas, Sam-I-Am), and then a five-hour drive, including a one-lane-at-times mind-melter over a scary, remote mountain pass, on our way to setting up shop in Mammoth Lakes.

Yes, my Facebook and Twitter feeds will likely be full of two weeks of photos of mountain hijinks.

See you next from the road. The ten-day forecast for Mammoth Lakes:

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