Tag Archives: backpacking

Our New Tent

Like other REI co-op members, we received our annual dividend a few weeks ago. And like many of them, we promptly spent it.

Last year, we spent our dividend on backpacks for our [failed] Yosemite High Sierra Camp Trip.

Side Note: I saw that they started plowing the Tioga Road in Yosemite this week. Pretty sure that this High Sierra season will go off without a hitch. Just our luck   🙁

So what did we pick up this year?

Backpacking Tent

Since our first try at backpacking was foiled, we’re taking a new approach. We had the packs. Now we have the tent. We haven’t planned a specific trip yet, but we’ve discussed some easy trip options here in Wisconsin. I’ll keep you posted.

As for the tent, I had read good things about REI’s Half Dome tents, so we chose the REI Half Dome 2 Plus. With a husband measuring in at a height of 6’5″, the extra room of the Plus version wasn’t just for luxury, it’s a necessity.

Now that the major pieces of the backpacking puzzle are in place, it’s time to plan an actual trip. Of course, it will have to wait until we return from Yellowstone. That trip is approaching fast!

The Best Trips…

If you read my vacation recap posts, you probably noticed some negativity as the trip progressed. Even though I try very hard to look on the bright side of things and I don’t want to come across as a Debbie Downer, I wanted to share an honest account of our experience in California this summer. I’m not perfect, my life isn’t perfect, and I never want to give the impression of perfection here. I want to keep it real.

I don’t view those negative experiences as a bad thing. It turns out that the trip, all the good and bad, taught me a valuable lesson about traveling…

When you visit new places, you see new and interesting things.

Mono Lake


You begin to look at the world around you in a different way.


Tiny Jason

You do things you never thought you could do or would do.

Getting Closer...

Lembert Dome

Experiences can spark you to act on your dreams


Or spark dreams you never even knew you had.

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Sometimes, you never want to return from your travels.

We've Arrived!

But while traveling allows you to appreciate new places, some trips also help you appreciate the places you left behind…

Let Summer Begin!

It's Ours!

John Muir Trail - April 9, 2011

I think the best trips do both.

And that is exactly what this summer’s trip did. I saw new things, experienced new places, had dreams of new adventures sparked. I also appreciated home…finally. I missed my town, I missed my house, I missed Wisconsin. And I realized that this is where I want to live my life.

I’ll still get to see the world, but every traveler needs a home base. And this summer, it was nice to know that I really had one.

So with that, I’m closing the book on California 2011. Time to look ahead to next summer. I’m not absolutely sure where our next adventure will take us – we’re still mulling it over – but I’m excited for the journey.

Back to the Vacation Drawing Board

Wednesday was a no good, very bad day in the Jacobs’ household. Our High Sierra Camp loop trip that I’ve been dreaming about and obsessing over for about a year is kaput 😥


Arrive home, check email on phone while walking upstairs to release the hounds and change out of my pretty red dress. Find the following devastating email:

Dear High Sierra Guest:

Unfortunately we have received official word due to snow levels being at record high levels, based on the latest snow pack readings (178% of normal), and a cool April and May the High Sierra Camps including Tuolumne and White Wolf will be delayed three weeks at this time. The tentative opening dates are as follows: Glen Aulin 7/8; May Lake 7/15; Merced, Vogelsang 7/22, 23; and Sunrise 7/29. (We were scheduled to stay at Vogelsang on July 20th, Merced the 21st/22nd, and Sunrise on the 23rd)

Your current reservation has dates within that period. We have tentatively reserved four nights at Tuolumne Meadows and one night at Vogelsang on 7/23. You can take all or part of this itinerary or if you choose to cancel all monies will be refunded.



Call Jason (who is en r0ute home) while crumpled on the floor, in the hall, in a puddle of tears.


Write the first of many pity party posts on Twitter and Facebook.


Move crying fit to bedroom once Jason gets home.


Shift into Plan B mode. Think of options, including other alternatives in Yosemite and scrapping Yosemite altogether for another national park (like Mount Rainier in Washington or Glacier in Montana). Discover that there is NO availability ANYWHERE.


Move from tears to rage over the situation. Decide to appease my anger with buffalo wings (keeping in mind that, other than fish, I haven’t eaten any meat in 2 1/2 weeks).


Binge on Topper’s buffalo wings while watching Extreme Couponing. Attempt to dull my pain in food and reality TV.


Start crying again. Head upstairs only to face my beautiful blue backpack being stored in my room in anticipation of the trip. Quickly remove pack from room (along with Jason’s) to avoid more tears. Decide it’s time to call it a night and hope to wake up to a better day.

I must say, when I woke up Thursday morning, I was much more optimistic. I started to contemplate the options we really do have and came up with two potential plans of action.

  1. Take what they’re giving us, minus the Vogelsang component. Honestly, if I’m going to do the High Sierra Camps, I’m really going to do it right. I don’t just want to hike out to one camp, stay the night, and turn around to go back. We’ll try another year (probably five years down the road after the sting of this incident has passed, selecting ALL August dates 🙂 ).
  2. Rework the trip entirely to spend some time in Yosemite but to travel to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Now that we have a clean slate, might as well check another couple parks off the list. We could spend a couple of day in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite then make the drive south to visit Kings Canyon for a day and Sequoia for a day. Since we should be receiving a decent chunk of change back from our canceled trip, we can hit up San Francisco in style for our last day/night.

After talking things over with Jason, we’re strongly leaning towards option B. While we love Yosemite and the high country, we don’t feel like spending the entire time just in Tuolumne. We figure we can make the drive out the eastern edge of the park to visit Mono Lake. We also hope to hike Lembert Dome. I would anticipate the drive between Yosemite and Kings Canyon/Sequoia to be pretty incredible in and of itself. Plus, it would be nice to make some progress on our goal to visit all of the national parks, something that visiting Yosemite exclusively two years in a row was already derailing.

The biggest downside to this whole situation is that I will miss out on what I anticipated to be a great way to test out backpacking. Not only would the locations have been amazing, the High Sierra Camps would have been the perfect beginners opportunity. Now, I’m back to the drawing board for trying my hands at something that’s way beyond my comfort zone.

So that is the last couple of days in a nutshell. We’re currently waiting for a callback from Delaware North Companies, the organization who oversees all Yosemite lodging, which might take 5-7 days 😯 (completely unacceptable from our point of view, but whatever). Then, we’ll go from there. While this trip will not be what I hoped for or wanted it to be, we will still make the most of our time out West and enjoy our national parks.


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