Day 1 – Hello Old Friend – Golden Trout Wilderness

Sunset on Olancha Peak from Strawberry Meadow

Feel the trail. ~ Silly Chili

July 3
Blackrock Trailhead to South Fork Kern River at Strawberry Meadows – 15.6 miles (evening hike)

I headed out for a 4 day backpack with a map, iPhone, my pack, and a few pages from a favorite guidebook. Requirements … no snow or raging creeks to ford.


I think it has been at least 3 years since I have been out on my own. It is way overdue and I am uncomfortable. Can I hack it? Will I make right choices?

Golden Trout Wilderness is located at the foot of the High Sierra. It is a land where wild bears, horses, cows, and an occasional hiker share its trails. The wilderness has high meadows and loads of solitude. Normally August would be too hot and dry to hike. This year water is in abundance.

Years ago, I was introduced to this remote and wild area by friends, Georgette and Brent. They both have special affection and appreciation for this piece of wilderness. I am long overdue for a visit.

I stopped at the Blackrock Ranger station to get a permit. The ranger was helpful and nice. We started talking about age and after looking at my driver’s license, she said she was a year older than myself. She iluded to the fact that my next birthday might not be pleasant. Somehow the whole age thing has remained a surprise to me. My head doesn’t know and luckily my body too. But here is the rub…somehow older women become invisible and not looked at as attractive anymore. I hate that and want to be part of a change.

I hiked like a maniac. I started hiking at 3:00 in the afternoon. I selected the Long Canyon Trail that connects with Strawberry Meadows. It is an unmaintained-ish trail. Sometimes there was a trail and sometimes not. It was just what I needed… meadows, water, and flowers and green everywhere.

A couple of miles before camp, rain, and a colorful sunset followed me along. I felt very much alive.

I have a really light pack, 17 pounds with 3 days of food and a liter of water. I left my camera and stove behind.

My goal is to really see what my iPhone camera will do.

Out of print guidebook – goal today…hike to the location on the front cover


Blackrock Trailhead
First beautiful meadow
This remote meadow captured my heart
Snow Plant, usually here in May
Sunset before the storm


  1. Hi, I do not think that older women especially hiking women go unnoticed. As a matter of fact as a man 53 at the time I was surprised to find myself checking out a 70 year old womans’ legs. I know it’s wrong but honestly she was very attractive and full of life. I say this, because that young 70 year old recently lost a battle with cancer but she hiked all the way. Now our small group of hikers (a group with total members of about 5000) always have a memorial hike for Joyce Wackenhut. She was quite a woman and beautiful at 70. I wish women would not worry about getting older. I think they should always remember that there is some male hiker like me that thinks she is awesome. That is why we have our yearly Hikers Ball, a formal event where we can all try to look our best. Wish we could have you join us this year! please come and be our special guest Nov. 24, 2017. Maybe you could enlighten all of us?

  2. What stunning photos! I will have to check back here before my next hike. Thank you for the excellent information.

  3. I am 64 and don’t feel I became “invisible”. I find I am treated with more respect by men and women younger than me. I seem to have become “safer” for younger men to approach me to talk. One of the comments I get a lot is that they wish I could talk to their moms because they want to get them out on the trail. I have been told how much they admire me that I backpack. I have been told by young women that seeing me they realize that life is not over when they get older. Maybe it’s the white hair. Maybe the type of men I have become invisible to aren’t backpackers. I don’t travel in the same social circle as those men so I haven’t really experienced that. I find that my 60s are the best years so far. Women told me that when I was younger but I didn’t believe them. I do now. FYI I’m doing about 150 miles on and around the JMT in another week.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Good morning Linda,
      You sound just like my friend Why Not that is hiking in the Pyrenees right now. She most likely would be ashamed of me for even thinking these things. Thank you for sharing and your perspective. It is refreshing and encouraging. I am excited about your upcoming trip. The Sierras are spectacular this year. Have an awesome and safe trip.

  4. Hi Christy. Just tried to leave a comment, but it disappeared so I will try again! Read your comment about not being noticed and assume from what was said that your next birthday is 60! Let me assure you that you will always be noticed, and a long way ahead of 30’s and 40’s . You are trim taut and terrific. You are truly beautiful. You have the most gorgeous smile. Your beauty comes from your inner beauty and shines out, together with your energy, vibrancy and positiveness. You will never lose any of that.

  5. Hi Christy, I assume from your comments that your next birthday is 60. Let me assure you (from a very active hiker, albeit in my mid 70’s) you will always be noticed. And long before 30 and 40 year olds are noticed. You are trim, taught and terrific, are truly beautiful, and have the most gorgeous smile. Your beauty shines from within – you have a sparkle, a vibrancy, and beauty that shines out and makes you who you really are, and immediately catches attention. And always will . True beauty is a reflection of what is within. You have it.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      You just keep talking.

      No seriously, I really was not fishing for compliments or attention by talking age, but it seems readers have come out of the woodwork with all kinds of sincere and thoughtful advice, compliments, and encouragement.

      And yes that is the age…next month.

      • Hi Christy
        I never thought you were fishing for compliments! I have had exactly the same thoughts as you have been having, so understand why you wrote as you did and which is why I replied as I did. Not that I worry about whether or not I am noticed! But more about not being able to do what we love – enjoying the wilderness, the mountains. there seems to be something in our culture which fears “landmarks”such as turning 60. Maybe that is so with the vast bulk of the population. The trouble for us is that such fears infiltrate into our consciousness when they shouldn’t. However,, you and I live in a very cohort. Earlier this year I was in the hospital and being prepped for a colonoscopy and the nurse was going through a checklist. She asked me if I thought I could manage to walk up 2 flights of stairs!!!!! We may laugh, but sadly, that question is probably relevant for most people of 75+. But not to you and me. You will still be hiking when you are 90. Is it our hard hiking that keeps us young and fit or is it that we have young genes which keep us fit and hiking?? If you look at my first of two posts on “”Ettrema” on my blog, only a couple of years ago, that was a very hard off track walk and all the party were over 70, the leader and his wife were over 80. A movie called “”Edie”‘ has just been released at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Watch out for it. Have a look at the trailer and then scroll down and see the behind the scenes stuff. All about an 83 year old woman who climbed a mountain in Scotland. But the elderly actress actually climbed it too. Take care, keep young and lovely and enjoying the mountains. Warm regards, Barrie

      • Hi Again
        Re being noticed. As i said earlier, you will always be noticed. For all the good reasons. But if people look at older people as if they are not there, then there is something wrong with them , they must be very shallow and egocentric. Thankfully I mix with a bunch of men and women who just accept others, men or women, for who they are regardless of age..

        • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

          Character and what we do and say is the focus.
          That is so true about being shallow and egocentric. Thank you for your insight and wisdom.

  6. Breezycanyon

    The invisibility of age can be kind of fun -you can observe without being observed. What I find much more dismaying is the outright hostility from some men. I’m about as mild mannered as a person can get, so have to assume it’s an age thing. But solo hiking is a palliative for many things.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Well hi there Breezy Canyon,
      I haven’t experienced that yet and hope it doesn’t happen soon. It is just the almost value of nothing when they look at you (in outdoor athletic settings). You have to prove yourself to be worthy of the sport. I hope my son never does that to any older woman. That would be heartbreaking. I know I have raised him to be a good man.

  7. Brian Mortakis

    I’m 69 and thru hiked the CDT last year.
    I’ve slowed down a little but never let
    your youth escape your heart. I will always remember your youthful excitement over
    summiting solo Mt Whitney for the sunrise
    You were giggling with glee. Never lose it

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      As you know, I know the CDT is tough, very. At any age to say you have hiked that trail is bad ass.
      Thank you for a reminder of that joy and transparency. I just revisited the video again. A huge wake-up call. I owe ya.

      Readers here is the link to the video:

  8. Christy,
    You lament “Somehow the whole age thing has remained a surprise to me. My head doesn’t know and luckily my body too. But here is the rub…somehow older women become invisible and not looked at as attractive anymore. I hate that and want to be part of a change”. Please rest assured you are not invisible and that this does not describe you! I do know how old you are and it surprises me again and again. Like Anna said, you are one badass hiker and not only do we know it, you do to.

    Age is nothing more than a place holder. It does NOT define who we are.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Warren, I agree wholeheartedly. I obviously have started thinking about this a lot to write about it. I wonder…what is the shift younger people have when you do tell them your age. It seems the numbers play with people. If they don’t know, I am neutral and looked at as an equal. I like that better. To tell or not to tell is a question…

  9. Rockin’, let not your late 50s heart be troubled. I hike with women near or past Medicare eligibility (I’m there too), and they are kicking proverbial butt. So enjoy your solo, and when I publish my next novel, Trail Town, you can read about a woman who falls in love with a man 20 years her junior. He digs her too by the way.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Richard! Now that is a book I will run to the bookstore and buy! You crazy man. This was a great trip and just what I needed to be ready for school to start. I just love hearing from you and your perspective. Thank you, my friend.

  10. Lynn Duncan

    Don’t let numbers play with your mind. You are already doing what you need to do to stay vibrant. 💜💜💜

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Lynn, I agree. Seriously, I think a new concept would be to just not have those numbers and birthdays. Just live.

  11. I don’t know how old you are but you are one badass hiker and I hope to be like you when I am older! Keep on rockin’ and doing your thing!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Hello Anna, Well that is the finest compliment a girl can get! Here is to taking one step at a time, and keep doing it.

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