Our 6 weeks on the trail starts on the Eastern Side of the Sierras, where we will traverse up into Ansel Adams Wilderness to meet the JMT and cross over our first pass – Donahue Pass at nearly 11,000 ft. That will be a quad burning day! Might as well start off with a bang. We then begin heading south traversing under the peaks of Banner and Ritter, two Sierra giants. This first leg is 6 nights and 7 days which will deliver us to Devils Postpile, where we will pop out to have a 3 day layover in our luxurious trailer.
The next stretch is 21 nights where we will traverse east to west across the Sierras not once, but twice! After 5 nights, we pick up our first drop of 2 of the orange Home Depot buckets at Vermillion Lakes and continue on for 6 more nights along the JMT, including a mild cross country traverse into the remote and rugged Bear Lakes Basin. When this stretch is done, we drop into John Muir Ranch to pick up our next food drop of 3 HD buckets and head onwards. Six nights later we will have traversed some of my favorite sections of the JMT to include Evolution Basin and Dusy Basin.
Cory J O’Neill Photography
When we pop out this time, Nana and Papa will be there to greet us with a ride to our trailer and a delicious meal ready to go (and some cold beer I am sure). We will deeply enjoy 4 days of trailer time with Nana and Papa, nice showers, comfy chairs to sit in, and fresh veggies!
Four days later we enter back in to complete our journey. We will have 7 nights left at this point. Of course, this last week is the most difficult of the whole summer. 60 of the 200 miles and about 30,000 ft of elevational change remains before the family will cross the finish line together.