In my "Greg & Thunder In The Sierras" video I mentioned that I was bringing a buddy up to the mountains for a backpacking trip. He hasn't backpacked in over 15 years, perhaps longer. Last weekend was that trip.
Randy did really well. There was one pretty serious hill to climb and we were at nearly 7000 feet elevation so I knew it would be a challenge for him. But he took it slowly and did great. I set him up with my pre-hammock tent.
I, of course, had my hammock set up nearby.
This was the view from our campsite.
And behind us were these amazing orange rocks which just lit up in the morning sun.
I took a quick hike to the top of those rocks to see what was beyond them. I could see on the map that there was another lake fairly close. But it was way down the hill.
There's a tiny lake called "Delaney Lake" which is usually pretty green. I never thought there would be fish or any other life other than mosquitoes in there. But we saw an otter swimming around.
Randy mentioned that he had some trouble sleeping because he was tossing and turning all night. Even with the Thermarest air mattress he wasn't very comfortable. So I let him try the hammock and he had the same reaction nearly everyone has.
"Oh My Gosh. This is great" he said.
"Yep, and it' less than half the weight of that tent and Thermarest."
Going backpacking after 15+ year off was enough change for him for one trip. I wasn't about to put him in a hammock on his first night out. But I could see that he was intrigued.
On the way back he hit the wall hard. Thunder and I would walk at our pace and then wait at any point where the trail split. Then I noticed his water bottles. He had only drunk about 1.5 liters of water the whole first day. Not a good idea if you're going to hike in the dry air for a couple of days.
I pumped some water through my filter and filled both his bottles. I made sure he drank at least half of the bottle in one sitting before we would continue. That seemed to help a bit but he still was walking at glacial speed. We dubbed him with the trail name "Lo-Gear" and luckily he laughed at the humor of it.
Slowly we headed out towards the truck where I had 2 more liters of water waiting. We headed back down the hill where Randy thanked us by buying burgers and fries for lunch with a side order of bacon for Thunder.
The best part was that Randy told me that he not only enjoyed it, but thinks he would like to start getting in shape to do more hiking and backpacking. He remembered how much he missed getting out into the mountains and said that he'd like to do more of it. All in all I think he did great for his first time out in such a long time. It was tough and it really challenged him. But he did it and kept a positive attitude the whole way.
All in all, it was another fun weekend in the Sierras.