John Gerberding and Jeff Thompson organized an early summer hike with some of the crew who originally hiked the Elwah 30 year ago and 15 years ago. It was great to see the upper damn blown out – which caused the road to the trailhead to wash out about 6.5 miles downstream. We benefited from this because few people were actually hiking into the river valley, just up to the dam and back so we felt like we had the entire Elwah to ourselves (with the wildlife!). Patrick Boyer came in from Arizona and John Dossett came up from Portland. Also on the trip were Greg Latimer, Ralph Murray, John Gerberding, Jeff Thompson and myself.
We are so excited and proud that Lindsay has graduated from University of San Francisco. She spent four years in a great city, met some wonderful people (like roommate Holly) and learned a lot about the world and herself. She graduated with a BA in International Studies with concentrations in Latin American Studies, Peace & Conflict Resolution and a Minor in Spanish with Honors.
I love the annual ritual of going somewhere beautiful in our great country that is in the mountains, along a river or near a beach with my buddies. Although the make-up of the group has changed over the years – “why is it that the older we get, the longer the hikes get?” wisely asks Will Shortt – the excitement around who gets to pick, the unveiling of the destination, wrangling for the right date and eventually – the meet-up and entrance into the woods. Here’s a list of the boys trips over the last 24 years.
The 2018 version was no different as Jeff Thompson’s pick was, of course, fantastic. Strangely, the same BitterRoot mountain range that he picked last time in 2013 – but a winner is a winner. The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is one of the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48 and is magnificent. Crew included Pat Boyer (AZ), Rob Blake (MT), Jeff Thompson (WA), John Howell (TX) and Yours Truly (WA).
- Fantastic weather – clear during day, cold at night – with only a light dusting of snow for about 20 minutes on the first night.
- Bourbon tasting – the tradition continues with a Old Forrester, 120 proof, prohibition style bourbon winning the night.
- Fishing – Ship Island Lake was our two night destination and lots of tasty trout live there. Some became dinner. We determined that a spin rod out performs fly rods in alpine lakes because you can get out to the middle easier.
- Spruce Grouse – Stupid birds that defend themselves by being still and trying to blend in to environment. Not much of a defense mechanism for a trained, experienced hunter with hiking poles and a determination to win a $100 bet.
- Bertrams Brewery – We had two great meals at this great restaurant in Salmon, ID.
Click here for the full selection of photos. Now, what to do next year for our 25th? It’s my pick and I’m on the clock…
We hope this letter finds you and your family well and that you are enjoying this lovely time of year. The Fasser’s are looking forward to time at the cabin over the holidays.
We started 2017 by sending Lindsay off to South America for 5 ½ months! She spent the first 5+ weeks backpacking (all by herself!) in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. She made her way to Argentina where she lived with a host family and studied Peace & Conflict studies, Human Rights, and Spanish. She is now back in California (USF) enjoying her junior year and looking forward to her internship at the 9th Districts Supervisors Office in January.
Jackson is enjoying his sophomore year at Ballard High School. He too took a trip to South America this year with his scout troop to Ecuador. He enjoyed hiking a portion of the PCT and John Muir trail with Scott, his buddy Aldo and our dear friend Don. The highlight of that trip was a summit of Mt. Whitney. He continues to pursue snowboarding (teaching this winter), hiking, climbing and mountain biking. He also continues his involvement with scouting and hopes to make Eagle this coming year.
Scott had a blast on the hike with Jackson and company. Click here to see the full story and pictures on the Whitney hike. It’s their 3 rd summer in a row that they have enjoyed a challenging and amazing hiking experience together. Scott continues teaching at University of Washington and he has switched gears on his career again. He is now the VP of Marketing and Analytics at Tomorrow.Me. Tomorrow is a local start up company that allows you to create a will, trust and shop life insurance for free (mobile app). This is a fun and creative challenge for Scott and he is really excited about marketing a product that is important but not urgent for families and individuals.
My year has been great, despite losing a dear friend to cancer and my brother. My work as an organizer is interesting to me and I relish the flexibility it gives me. I just finished coordinating a huge kitchen remodel for one of my clients, which was a blast. Our family went on our first ever backpacking camping trip this summer and I have to say…I liked it! Though I am not a fan of carrying my own things, the time away from our phones and our busy city lives was precious. I’m enjoying the kids so much and I am looking forward to my 50th birthday in 2018!
Merry Christmas! We wish your family love and happiness in the New Year.
Jackson and Scott bagged the highest peak in the lower 48 states – Mt. Whitney – this summer on a 10 day trip with 6 on the trail. This was our third summer of epic hikes (West Coast Trail, Philmont and now High Sierras). It all started with a conversation with Don Davidson – long time friend and hiking inspiration – around joining him on the third leg of his Pacific Crest Trail journey with Bill Pope – owner of the Mazama Country Inn. I asked Jackson if he wanted to join and he was all-in which made me very happy. As schedules morphed and we pushed back for a later start, we looped in Jackson’s buddy Aldo to join us as well.
We left for California on Aug 25th (my birthday!) and spent the night with @willshortt which included a tour of the University of Oregon and a ceremonial coming of age watching of “Animal House” (which was filmed at UofO in Eugene…). Next day was a long drive to Lee Vining, CA to camp out and get up early to get permits for the hike which was a critical variable (success! note – Lee Vining – Mono Basin is the northern most ranger station for this part of the Sierra’s and the least busy which made getting permits easier).
Next we connected with Don (“Dog Gone”), Sandy (“Extra Credit”) and their two PCT hiking buddies “Hike On” and “Fox Fire” at Independence, CA for a night in a motel prior to heading up. Don made reservations at a local restaurant that was supposed be slow, but really good called Still Water (locals call is Still Waiting). After getting some drinks and ordering from a single front of the house older gentleman who spoke just enough English, he comes over and tells us that the “Chef has left the building, there will be no food for you and we will not charge you for the drinks.” Wow. We were absolutely dumbfounded. So, off to the mini-mart for ramen noodles and beef stew.
Up early the next day to catch a 6am ride up to Onion Valley trail head. Beautiful vista’s on the drive up but we climbed from around 6,000 feet elevation to almost 9,000 feet elevation at the trail head. On the first day we hiked over Kearsage Pass which is over 12,000 feet. Needless to say, we were feeling the impact of gaining so much altitude in a single day with 6 days of food and gear on our backs. Fortunately, we acclimated quickly and were fine on the rest of the trip.
After a couple of days hiking including the highest pass on the PCT – Forrester at 13,200 – we arrived at Crabtree Meadows for two nights of camping and a 15 mile round trip day hike up Mt. Whitney. We woke at 2:30am and started hiking at 4am. We peaked around 9:30am and spent over an hour taking pictures, eating and breathing thin air at the top of the world. We finished the day with a great swim in Guitar Lake.
The next day was a long hike – 16.5 miles – to Chicken Springs lake and then a short 5 mile hike out to the car. 70 miles in 5.5 days in a beautifully rugged part of the country over 10,000 feet for most of the time.
The boys got some great driving time on two lane highways, we enjoyed some excellent camp food, spent time with friends, made some new friends and hiked like crazy. It was great!