Day 1 High Sierra Trail – Up and Over

Man can only enjoy that with which he acquires with hard work and toil. The harder you work for something, the more you enjoy that. If something is easy, how much reward is there?
~from documentary “The Barkley Marathons, the Race that Eats its Young”

July 15
Whitney Portal to Wallace Creek – 18.6 miles

Trail Crest * Crabtree Meadow * Pacific Crest Trail

Quick day.

I have always been interested in hiking the 68 miles across the Sierras from Whitney Portal to Crescent Meadows. The High Sierra Trail, a very popular trail is featured in many guidebooks. The main areas I am looking forward to visiting are Precipice and Hamilton Lakes on the west side of the Sierras.

On the way up to Trail Crest (below Whitney Portal), I experienced a first. A Boy Scout Troop that was polite, organized, happy, and not a single scout had a pack that was ill packed or over-sized! They even all lined up on the side of the trail, while I passed. This gives the uphill hiker the right of way. Just think…they all were trained and knew trail etiquette. I am smiling just remembering them all lined up neatly on the trail.

We all agreed not to climb Mount Whitney today, largely because we have all climbed it so many times. Also, we wanted to get out of the Mount Whitney zone where we would have to use a WAG bag for pooping. It was a huge motivation to book it past Crabtree Meadows. It worked. Tonight we made to all the way to Wallace Creek. Yaaaay team.


SHR 2016
Whitney Portal
Organized Boy Scout Troop
Organized Boy Scout Troop
Why Not hiking up 99 switchbacks
Pennyroyal along the trail
Trail Crest
Packs dropped off to hike the 2 miles up to the top of Mount Whitney
Hitchcock Lakes
Guitar Lake


Neo Air Pump Bag

After a long day of hiking, I really do not like blowing up my Neo Air. I get light-headed and my lips get fatigued. My new Neo Air XTherm came with a big sack with a small hole at the bottom to manually inflate the pad. The main reason for the pump is to prevent moisture in the pad.

At first I thought, no way am I hauling that big bag, but then realized I could use it as a nice clothing bag. I am hooked. You simply let the bag naturally fill with air, close it up, and squeeze. It works quickly and I don’t have to worry about the dreaded chore of manually blowing the pad up with my air.
Think Outside (31)


  1. I pump my pad up with a pack liner too. I think the specialized pump sack is probably faster and better though the cost is offsetting I guess.

  2. Great tip! I have been using a plastic pack liner to fill my sleeping pad for the same reasons (to keep moisture out of the pad and because I get dizzy blowing up stuff). I fill the plastic bag (liner) with air, twist the opening closed and create a finger sized opening to fit around my pad’s “nozzle”, then pump the air into my pad by compression the bag with my arm like i’m playing the bagpipes. Even though my pack liner isn’t added weight, I do have to empty my pack to use it. I’m a big fan of using a clothing sac too, so I might just need to get that Neo Air and it’s bag!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Sounds like you have made a ingenious DIY of the pump sack. Awesome.

      I love not getting dizzy after a long day’s hike.

  3. Hope you guys got to enjoy the hot spring along the Kern river.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      We had the hot spring all to ourselves. It was the perfect temperature and a treat.

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