Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hiking Destinations and Tough Decisions

Plowing Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, late May 2011. They still don't know when the road will open as of June 7th.

Our destination for this summer's hike starting July 7th was slated to be the John Muir Trail, the most scenic trail one can do, spanning the high Sierras in California. We set up for it way back in January through the Yosemite National Park lottery system (which had to be done then to secure a pass to hike at this date) and went on to purchase the airline tickets. 

Then the snows came. And they came. And record snows, according to Mammoth Lake. Still more record snow in March. Some late snow in April. But we stubbornly maintained our optimism. We began thinking in terms of microspikes, ice axes, hiking boots and not trail runners, long gaiters, getting a new tent (which we did), how to survive the water crossings, all the while hoping for blistering spring temps to melt the huge snow pack.

But the temperatures did little. The snow is melting, yes, but ever so slowly.  We had to make a decision soon with our July hike. Hike on what was projected to be miles and miles of snow pack in July (the only month we can do it with our schedules). Or try again next year, take the airline penalty and do something different with our plane tickets next fall?

How it looks right now in the high Sierra country, June 7, 2011
We opted to try again next year.

This summer we have changed to hiking the Long Trail of Vermont. Thanks to the generosity of a fellow White Blaze member, we have the guide book, and I purchased the Long Trail map and End to End guide from Campmor. Plans are being put into motion to salvage a summer of hiking. I still hate to think I will not be out on the JMT this year. That I have to pay fines to move airline tickets and suffer through the Yosemite lottery process all over again next year. These are tough decisions one must make. But I feel we made the right one.  

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