Epic Backpack in the Sierras – Two moms and two kids

Day 1

Setting up camp at the trailhead to Maggie Lakes in the Sequoia National Forest was the perfect way to spend the summer solstice. We are the only ones at Shake Camp ($15/night).

The kids, R and Christian, are amazed at the sequoias. Now that they’re out of the car, they’ve been alternating between dancing on the bear boxes and starting a pine needle blaze in our ample fire pit. They kids never asked for matches, but got a fire started from the coals left buried in the ashes.

Though the car ride was about five hours, we never ended up stopping for food, as I had packed bagels with cream cheese and salmon (Bella broiled it with lemon and fresh dill) and cherries. The bagels were fresh-baked from I Love Bagels.

Dinner was  Trader Joe tortellinis with a bit of olive oil and salt. We threw in a chopped zucchini and let it cook in the last five minutes. Celebrated our arrival (and solstice) with s’mores (1/2 bag marshmallows, 1 pkg grahams, 2 bars Hershey chocolate).

My hiking partner and friend, L, had to get a second bear can – half-size- to fit all our food. Even so, we ended up sleeping with some of it under our pillows the first couple nights. She says that she can fit nine days of food for one person in one full-size can. We each took three dinners, three lunches, and six sets of snacks for two adults and two kids.  Three days of food for four people, so basically 12 days of food for one person… L has a great little stove. I want one. In turn, she covets my inflatable solar lantern from my in-laws (by Luci).

I love being out here and I can hardly believe that I’m already out of cell phone and internet reach. It was so easy and feels so good. I’ve just slipped into the darkness and the world can’t reach me out here. Keep track of the important news for me! I just barely got my vacation responder set on both my email accounts before I left (ah damn it, I never submitted my Earthroots hours for this pay period… well, there was bound to be a dropped ball)

My meals:

#1 Dinner: 1 bag tortellini, 1 fresh zucchini

#1 dessert: sesame treats (korean, home-made by my mom)

#1 Lunch: 2 pkg tuna (in foil packets by Wild Planet). 2 mayo and 2 mustard packets (from The Hat), 3 fresh everything bagels

#1 snacks: chestnuts (org., in foil), 2 granola bars


#2 Dinner: angel hair pasta (3/4 bag cooked and dehydrated), spaghetti sauce (1/2 jar dehydrated on 2 dinner plates)

#2 dessert: 1 pkg astronaut ice cream (not as big a hit as I’d hoped, but still tasty)

#2 Lunch: salami (trader joe’s already sliced), 1 block cheese, 2 mayo, 2 mustard, 2 thousand island dressing, 4 ww pita bread (remaining 3 pita was made into pb and prune roll-ups – surprisingly popular and satisfying)

#2 snacks: dried banana (4 bananas dehydrated), beef jerky (house-made Maui-style by Celestino in Costa Mesa), 2 granola bars


#3 Dinner: 1 box rice pilaf, 1 head cauli dehydrated, 1 pkg freeze-dried chicken and rice

#3 dessert: chocolate (ritter bar; dark with marzipan)

#3 Lunch: 4 pita with peanut butter and prunes(I intended to have tuna again, but brought the tuna home)

#1 snacks: Trader Joe’s partially popped popcorn, prunes, dried cuttle fish (korean version of beef jerky), more beef jerky

Emergency food: 1/2 tub almond butter, 2 pkgs toddler formula (freebie, but ended up being tasty in the morning oats)

I also brought 10 hard-boiled eggs (from Jodi’s chickens) and my contribution to breakfast oatmeal was a bag of organic raisins, a bag of raw almonds, and some of Bella’s homemade granola. I keep a couple honey sticks in my first aid kid. I also brought 6 Starbuck’s espresso Via packets for morning coffee and some teas for nighttime and health: 5 tummy health, 3 smooth move, 2 throat coat, 1 green tea, and my mom’s fave, 6 solomon seal tea.

L’s meals:


#1 alpine spaghetti (capellini pasta, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil) w/ kale chips

#2 Mac-n-cheese (three boxes of Annie’s in a ziplock) w/ dehydrated broccoli (Trader Joe’s)

#3 Bean and cheese burritos (dehydrated black beans from Mother’s bulk bins, shredded cheese, ww flour tortillas – very yummy – with the 2 remaining tortillas we made almond butter and ginger chocolate roll-ups)


#1, #2, #3 Salami, cheese, Akmak crackers plus 2 fig newtons


beef jerky, dried mangos, dried apricots, dried apples, salted almonds, wasabi almonds, energy goops and clif energy gummy blocks


Quick-cook irish oatmeal (instant digests too quickly) with brown sugar for all seven days, supplemented by left-overs

My in-laws have loaned me an incredibly lightweight tent, which has made a big difference in the weight of my pack (which I have not yet carried…) It’s a fly-and-tent-in-one combo called a tarptent. It comes with two poles and a small baggy of aluminum stakes. at their recommendation, I got and cut a .7 mm plastic painter’s dropcloth to use as a footprint.

Turns out the lightweight pack my mom-in-law loaned me was too small, because I am carrying for me and C. So it’s back to my old North Face Perseverance.

It’s been so hot in south Orange County that I’d forgotten how cool it could get in the mountains. Fully dressed however, I am prepared: wool socks (2), thermals (top and bottom), zip-off long pants, wool t-shirt by icebreaker, down vest (stuffed in a bag for a pillow), rain gear, and warm hat.  That plus 2 pair non-cotton undies and a long-sleeve linen shirt were all the clothes I dared bring. The only things I have two of are undies and wool socks and hankies. Well, and I’m obsessive about having lip stuff so I did tuck three of my favorite current addiction: treatment-free, locally-sourced, Backyard Bees Lip Dew in Prairie Grass flavor. If you’ve camped with me, chances are that I’ve given you one.

There is a small bird chirping at 11pm?

Tomorrow is 12 miles – we’ll see how we do with so much to carry. We plan to do it in two days, spend three nights there, and spend two days hiking back out. The plan is to get home Saturday. Today is Sunday.

This tent is spacious. Chad could fit in it, but it’s low overhead.

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