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Rlhdancer - Other Trail Journal - 2016

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Chris & Becky "Split & Two Step" Haynam
City: Pleasanton
State: California
Country: USA
Begins: Jul 12, 2016
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Jul 2nd, 2016
Start: Ebbett's Pass, PCT
End: Pleasanton, CA
Daily Distance: 0
Daily Ascent: 700
Daily Descent: 700
Max Elevation: 9500

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,837
Journal Visits: 5,518
Guestbook Views: 28
Guestbook Entrys: 2

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PCT hikers enjoying our trail magic at Ebbetts Pass, PCT

Preparing for our Trinity Alps trek with trail Magic.

Preparing for our Trinity Alps trek with trail Magic.

Welcome to our 2016 trail journal! We are Chris and Becky Haynam of Pleasanton, California. Since 2011 we have hiked a national scenic trail every summer. Our list of trails has been: 2011 Southbound on the John Muir Trail, 2012 Southbound on the Appalachian Trail (AT), 2013 Northbound on the Pacific Crest Trail, 2014 Southbound on the John Muir Trail, 2015 Southbound on the Colorado Trail. All these trails were thru-hikes, where we started at one end of the trail and backpacked with a continuous string of steps to the other end.

During our 2012 AT hike we picked up the names of Split (Chris) and Two Step (Becky), and henceforth I will use our trail names - as seems fitting for a trail journal. Also on the AT we picked up the habit of journaling our backpacking adventures. You can find them all at

This is a busy year for us, traveling and spending time with family, and we are taking a shorter trip, revisiting our first extended backpacking trip to the Trinity Alps. I again plan to give a day-by-day account of our trip, for the benefit of family and friends who are interested, and to provide a lasting memory for Two Step and me. But anyone is invited to share our experiences!

Snickets, one of our hiking companions, good friend, and a member of our Seven Samurai team that blazed a trail through the new snow that Hurricane Sandy dumped on the AT in the Smokey mountains in 2012, planned to hike the John Muir Trail (JMT) this summer. She Facebooked us asking for some information on planning a three-week hike on this trail that she knew we loved so much. We were able to provide her with some tips, and also offer a ride up to an access point at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. She flew into Pleasanton from Portland on Thursday, June 30th, and we were able to treat her to a carb-loaded pizza dinner at Gay Ninety's Pizza in downtown Pleasanton. Pizza and beer lubricated our conversation and we caught up on post-AT life.

The next morning we would set off on our four-hour car journey to Tuolumne, but we would combine this trip with an opportunity to do trail magic on the PCT. We had bought, baked, and prepared food, and accumulated an assortment of soft and adult beverages. We would drop off Snickets and then drive another three hours to where the PCT crosses Ebbett's Pass to give hungry trail-worn PCT hikers a brief respite from their labors.

We left our home in Pleasanton at 6:45am with a car full of food, tables, chairs, and three backpacks. In addition to Snickets' backpack, Two Step and I also had packed for a night out on the trail. This was a great opportunity to field test the pack we would take on our upcoming Trinity Alps trek. We checked out our sleeping bags and jackets, assembled our electronics, filled our stuff sacks, and packed our backpacks - an excellent way test the gear we will use on our trip.

After a short stop to pick up breakfast, nineteen donuts, and 26 fresh bagels, we were driving east. Snickets got to see the agricultural hub of California, the Central Valley, filled with fruit and nut trees as well as the occasional vineyard, and then it was up into the golden grasses of the Sierra foothills, and finally into the forests of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We arrived at Tuolumne Meadows after 11:00am, and Snickets found her hiking companion, Karin, almost immediately amongst the numerous PCT hikers that were resupplying at this post office / restaurant / mini-mart located in the heart of the wilderness. Obviously, with all these amenities, it would make no sense to provide food, drinks, and rest here, so with a sad hug we said goodbye to Snickets and began a drive to a point further north on the PCT.

After a short stop at the Whoa Nellie Deli, at the crossroads of Highways 120 and 395, where we each enjoyed a delicious swordfish sandwich, we turned north and followed a winding set of highways and 1.5 lane roads to Highway 4, we slowly wound our way upwards to Ebbett's Pass. In 2013 Two Step and I crossed this pass in a cold and driving wind and rain storm that was unusual for that time of year. We were unprepared for two days of rain, we would not get heavy rain gear until we reached Washington. When we crossed Highway 4 that year we were so miserable that had a car come by, we would have begged a ride to any shelter. Alas, no ride appeared and we trudged forward. However, I eventually promised myself that I would come back and provide food and drink, "trail magic", to brighten the day of some future PCT hiker. Today was to be that day!

When we arrived at the pass we realized that the trailhead parking was about .2 miles from the PCT and a decent setup was an additional .1 mile north, quite a haul with all our equipment. We decided to temporarily park just off Highway 4 and cart our "magic" just a tenth of a mile south down the PCT. We had no sooner hauled our first load down the trail, when our first hiker arrived. We greeted him with Two Step's "Would you like something to eat or drink?" and my "Do you want some trail magic?". A big smile burst out as our first PCT hiker "Blazer" said "Sure!"

I returned to the car multiple times to retrieve food, drink, towels, hand antiseptic, charging batteries and cables, chairs, and tables - each time seeing more hikers. Finally, I was able to sit down and relax and get a count of the 19 people who eventually assembled and stayed for the three hours it took to devour the food and drink and charge all their electronics. The group was:

Blazer (Cincinnati- Deer Park)


Not Guilty (Durango)

Sampson (Lafayette, CA)

Pinecone (France)

Rabbit Foot (Pinecone's American husband)


Fruitcup (Vancouver, Canada)

Space Cowboy (San Diego, CA)

Tupac (Melbourne, Australia)

Texas Tracker

Aussie Terminator

Splitter (British)


Mowgli (Massachusetts)

13 (Australia)

Pink (San Francisco)

Ladybug (Michigan)

Safety Officer (Toledo)

The hikers were ravenous, and sat and drank, and shared stories of the trail. They appeared happy and at ease. The hiker named 13 had done 32 miles today and had been feeling worn out and tired, but was totally energized by the trail magic. Everyone expressed their gratitude, and we were thrilled to help just a bit on their long journey. Just as the food ran out, so did the day, and as twilight fell all the hikers headed down the trail to get in a few more miles before turning in for the night. Most carried chairs, tables, or trash out to the highway as I went to get our car. As Two Step and I set up our tent, we decided that this was the best group of hikers we ever had the chance to visit with on our three trail magic excursions. However, the short work they made of our substantial provisions is a testimony to the increased number of hikers on the PCT this year.

We had a quiet and beautifully clear night. We slept in but still had everything packed and stowed in the car by 9:00am, so we decided to do a short hike north on the PCT. Although it's impossible to remember all 2700 miles we hiked in 2013, we really had no recollection of the few miles we hiked north. We were wet and nearly hypothermic at the time, and none of the beautiful lakes or snow coved peaks even looked familiar. We were glad to have come back to this location on a perfect hiking day, but we still had a long drive back to Pleasanton, and much preparation to do for our coming Trinity Alps hike. So soon we were heading back south on the trail and back to our car for our return to the Bay Area, talking the whole way about our great experience.

Getting ready for the Trinity Alps,

Split and Two Step

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Journal Photo

Split And Two Step's Trinity Alps Trek

Other Trail is located off the beaten path, somewhere between the soles of your feet and your imagination.


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