Backpacking Yosemite: Mist Trail, Yosemite Valley, and Clouds Rest

December 27, 2016 Featured, Personal, Travels Comments (0) 665

I realize now that I never posted about my Yosemite trip. Hopefully late is better than never. This was one of the great experiences of my adult life, one good thing in 2016, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone.

2016 didn’t start out great for me. In early spring, I decided I needed a good hiking vacation to clear my head and recenter. After reviewing several options, I chose Yosemite National Park, in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. I booked my flight to Oakland and a rental car, figuring I’d throw my backpack in and drive four hours straight into the mountains.

A view down the Mist Trail from atop Vernal Fall. Look close and you can see the hikers in their rain slickers making their way up the trail.

Of note, you can’t really just up and travel to Yosemite, especially if you want to backpack overnight. The Park Service has instituted a permit requirement that requires advance reservations. This protects the environment, as well as a sense of wilderness in what might otherwise feel like a shopping mall. I first applied to begin at trailheads along Tioga Road, not realizing Tioga Road in late May was still buried in snow and closed. I was lucky, though; there was one spot still left at Happy Isles, the park’s most in-demand trailhead. I plotted a course, a 30-mile circuit that would take me over or past some of the park’s most famous landmarks. I also bought my first bear canister. Continue Reading

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Rejection Letters / Backpacking the Catskills

September 23, 2009 Personal, Travels Comments (6) 1313

Chuck at the Guide to Literary Agents blog reposted an article from author Debra Darvick (phew, that’s a lot of attribution), Ten Hidden Gifts of Rejection Letters.  Not a bit too soon.  For the past week or so rejection letters are all the mail I seem to receive.  No worries though.  I figure rejection happens quickly, but an offer will take a while.


Thought I’d share a story and a few photos from my Labor Day weekend backpacking trip to the Catskill Mountains.  My friend Liz and I hauled our asses over the Burroughs Range Trail (AKA the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide or WCS Trail) on Saturday, camped below the summit of Terrace Mountain, and returned on the Phoenicia-East Branch Trail on Sunday.

First things first.  The folks at the NY/NJ Trail Conference who authored our guide maps have a talent for understatement.  For those of you who may also be using these maps, be advised that “steep” in many cases means “near vertical,” and “challenging” means “soul crushing.”

That is not a rock wall behind her.  That is in fact the trail.

That is not a rock wall behind her. That is in fact the trail.

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