Sunday, September 20, 2009

Folks on the Trail

One of the blessings of hiking the John Muir Trail this year was getting the chance to meet and camp with some great people. As I mentioned before, a sense of community often develops when hiking trails like this. Here are a few of the people I got to know on the trail. 1.) Matt: I met Matt on the second day of the trail. He also was hiking solo. We hiked together for a couple of days until he had to push ahead due to time constraints. Here he is pictured looking at his sleeping bag with the food he planned on sleeping with. I think his worried expression is due to the fact that I had just finished telling him that bears came into my camp the night before! 2.) Having a beer with Cindy, Erin, and Andrew at Red's Meadow. Cindy and Andrew were school teachers from New Jersey, and Erin is a robotics engineer from Boston. They became familiar faces on the trail. I camped with them again at Marie Lakes, VVR, and Muir Ranch.

3.) David and Robert: I met David near the beginning of my hike and later camped with him at Red's Meadow before parting ways. Robert is an Irishman living in LA, who teaches high school history. Robert also became a familiar face, someone I "leap frogged" the entire length of the trail. He always had some entertaining story or observation to tell, usually involving plenty of well placed f-bombs to color his stories for dramatic effect.

4.)Kaylynn: A world traveler from Australia, she was hiking from Lake Tahoe to Whitney. I camped with her and Robert one night after VVR.

5.) Richard: He is a Desert Storm veteran who flew helicopters, and also a former Kings Canyon Park Ranger. I crossed paths with him numerous times in the first half of my hike and then caught up to him again on the last day. We had some interesting discussions.

6.) Pat and Sam: I also crossed paths with these guys numerous times, summited Whitney with them, and gave them a ride to the Burbank airport after the trail was finished. Pat is an interesting talker, who teaches math in a community college near San Francisco. His friend Sam works with computers and lives in Silver Spring. They also have a Facebook page called "Pat and Sam's JMT 2009" which has numerous videos of the hike.

7.) Gabe, Mike, and Keith: Gabe is also an Iraq war veteran who served two tours in the army. His brother Mike and his friend Keith are students in San Diego. I also leap frogged these guys throughout the trail. Whenever I would pass, they would offer some sort of snack or candy or when this picture was taken, fresh trout they had just caught and cooked.

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