The Sierras: Intro

SN13I guess it’s better late than never, right?  Well, probably not, maybe, who knows. The thing is that I dropped the ball. The biggest trip of the year, the one we plan for a good 6-9 months out, the one that uses up my vacation time and ….. crickets. Nothing more than a few pictures and we move right past it. Well, I guess it’s late even if that isn’t better than never.

The Plan

The plan is usually a pretty straight forward one. We have THE PLANNER (aka Shelby) who figures out the logistics so I don’t have to because I like to play to my strengths and planning trips are not one of them. Half the time, I’m not even sure what state the trip is supposed to be happening in. So yea, thanks Shelby for being that guy.

THE PLANNER’s plan started sometime on a Thursday in June. They would come out of hiding in Arizona. Pick Mrs. Moose and I up and then we would swing by and snag Beans and Rice aka Ole Lead Pipe. We would also have Moco and Coco in tow as our pack dogs and early bear warning system. Once all loaded, Shelby would drive us to the Sierra.

We would spend the next few days rambling around in the mountains, hopefully not dying and if things went as planned, we would be able to pop over one last pass on day four and be right back where we started. Shelby had multiple camping options along the way that were within the distance we hoped to travel and were up to his photogenic requirements. Seeing that he is really, I mean expertly good at this planning shit, he also had a Plan B, C and D just in case we were slow, fast or someone got eaten by a giant, killer raccoon. If you’ve never been on a trip with THE PLANNER, you really should experience it. It’s as close to going on an all-inclusive cruise through the wilderness. The only significant difference is that you have to carry your own shit and cook your own food.

For example, once we decided we were in, we all received a link to a Google Drive folder that pretty much gave us the step-by-step instructions for the trip.


Not only did he have two maps showing the route with alternatives, you will notice a .kml file, a .gpx file and that mysterious one 2nd in from the left, yup that’s a copy and past of the route just in case the rest of the forms didn’t work. Now, I don’t know if he created all this stuff, stole it from a website or what, but what is important is that he always takes the time to have it planned.

Sierra map with marked trail

Of course, once all this camping and walking and stuff was over, we would make our way back to the State of Mormondom sometime on the 4th of July. That is unless someone lights off something they shouldn’t and the state gets burned down (luckily that didn’t happen. I kinda like it here.).

The Characters

It was a cast of a few, but well known characters.

SN16Mrs. Moose, the lady with all the names, aka Mama Bear, Freedom Toes, KB, Kathleeny Weeny, etc. She can be seen in the photo above with her full mosquito deterrent system deployed and in mid mosquito dance. You should also notice her preferred backpacking footwear. There’s a reason they call her Freedom Toes. She’s the only person I know who would carry 30 pounds on their back and be basically bare foot.


Next up we have Beans and Rice aka Benjammin’ aka Ole Lead Pipe. B&R was on our first trip to the Yosemite and has become a well trusted companion and active member of the Alliance. You can also see his pack dog, Coco, in the above photo. It was her first trip carrying a bag and she rocked it out like a seasoned veteran.

packdog While we are on the subject of pack dogs, here’s the other one, Moco. It should be noted that we don’t require the dogs to carry anything that isn’t theirs. The pack is just for them to carry their own food making it possible for them to come along without weighing us down too much. And while Moco looks like she might be dead in the photo, as soon as we were moving, they were going full bore, all day.

theplannerAs strange as it may seem, or at least it seems to me, I have zero, go ahead and count ’em, zero photos of Shelby Sticks. Or at least photos where you can see his face. In the one above, he’s the guy in blue taking a wiz. I don’t remember hating THE PLANNER on this trip or having a vendetta against him having his photo taken, but it is what it is and we’ll just have to live with the consequences of my actions. Known aliases: Shelby, Sherm, Shelby Sticks, THE PLANNER.

camiThe newest member of our little hobo clan was Cami. She’d been on plenty of other trips with us but never to the Sierra. You can see how well she fit in just going straight up the snow field, no shits given, none to give. You might notice the close resemblance to Shelby Sticks, or you would had I gotten any photos of him, due to the extra 2 appendages she sports. I guess it’s a family thing. Cami is probably what her mom would like her to be called seeing that was what she named her, but she also responds to Tenderfoot and Camster.

And of course yours truly was tagging along trying to keep up.

Seeing that this was a big trip, I have broken it down into several posts. Stay tuned…

P. L. and R.

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