Juniper Ridge is taking off again – this time to the High Sierra for some serious fun…and some serious walking. We are marching north of Mount Whitney on the Pacific Crest Trail between Kearsarge and Taboose Passes, our average elevation will be about 11,000 feet  – we have thirteen intrepid souls joining us for a week of what is sure to be, one crazy adventure after the next. Poster by Ken Davis – he is coming on the trip. We will have them for sale soon on the Juniper Ridge Website.

The picture above is higher resolution than the numbered picture below

I’ve been training for this trip for nearly three decades – looking down at my gear, in 2012, I marvel. Gone are the heavy packs, the torturous fuel systems, the bulky camera equipment – all replaced by more more effective (and lighter) materials – that are all clearly better made than any thing I had in the 80’s, for example. I am not a gear head, although it would be easy to fall into that trap. I don’t weigh my pack down to ounces (yet) but I do try to live by the golden rule while backpacking: take only what you really need. Apparently I really need coffee and books, it is where most of my weight is. Of course, this picture is missing a few things, including a pad and, well…food. A few of my favorite things:

1. Hemp shirt by Jungmaven. warmer and stronger than cotton.

2. The Freeman Jacket, made in Seattle, by Freeman. A great, warm shell that looks as good as it is durable.

3. Rise of the Ranges of Light, Landscapes and Change in the Mountains of California, by David Scott Gilligan, Heyday Books, Berkeley, 2011

4. Pocket Case by Topo Designs. These guys are reinventing the classic backpack as something new.

5. The Windrider pack by Hyper Lite Mountain Gear. Holy crap. My life is changed. It weighs nothing. enough said. from the book:

“As the midsummer sun beats down on my bare brow and warms the dark rocks of the summit block, it occurs to me that I can think of no other place in the lower forty-eight where I could sit and be so utterly surrounded by so many high mountains so close at hand. All of my experiences in other ranges in the contiguous United States seem to shrink next to the scene before me. Here are more mountains of more different types that I will ever climb in this little life, with more different stories that I could ever tell. And of all the dozens of ranges that make up California, none seem so profound and aesthetically perfect as the Sierra Nevada. So many superlatives describe this place that one wonders by what divine grace were so many fantastic things gifted to one mountain range. Here is the longest singular mountain range in North America, and the highest in the lower forty-eight. The Sierra Nevada is home to the highest alpine lake in the continent, more species of conifer than any other North American range, the largest and richest alpine flora in the continent, and the largest singular living things on the planet. More snow falls here than on any other range in the continent besides the Cascades, The granite of the Sierra was formed in one of the largest granite-forming events the planet has ever known. The list goes on. And on.”

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We actually get quite a bit of coverage on the trail, so stay posted.