Sean

July, North America

Backpacking Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley on the John Muir Trail

While a graduate student, I was fortunate to tack a couple of days in Yosemite National Park onto the end of a conference. That was enough time to hike up Half Dome (this was in the days before permits) and to explore Yosemite Valley. While stunning, I knew I had just scratched the surface of the Yosemite’s wonders.

I later saw a slide show of a hike along the John Muir Trail, which further motivated me to return. Kyle and I talked with friends–Joe and Jeremy–about a proposed trip. We decided to focus on the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. This would take us to Cathedral Lakes, Sunrise Lakes, Clouds Rest, and Half Dome.

We set about applying to permits by fax. On our third try, we secured permits for our desired route for 21-24 July 2016.

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May, North America

Maui in May

In May 2021, we spent a week on Maui. Compared to our usual trips, this was a more relaxing vacation. We snorkeled, took short walks and hikes, watched birds, and enjoyed reading. During our trip, we spent four nights in Nāpili and four nights in Kihei.

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Gear

Milford and Routeburn Track Packing List

On the Milford and Routeburn tracks, hikers can experience four seasons in a day. Though we hiked in New Zealand’s early fall and hoped for mild days, we also knew the passes could receive feet of snow at this time of year.

This made it difficult to strike the right balance. We wanted to pack light enough to be able to move quickly and have energy for side trips, but we also wanted to be comfortable regardless of weather. Fortunately, we’ve acquired a good set of layering gear over the years, which we could draw on to assemble our packs.

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February, March, Oceania

Planning a Hiking Trip on New Zealand’s South Island

For the 2018-2019 academic year, I was on sabbatical. While I was still working, I had a lot more flexibility in when I could travel. New Zealand had been on our to-visit list for a while, but seasons and distance make it hard to visit during a normal year. We took advantage of my flexibility by planning a three-week trip to New Zealand for February and March — late summer / early fall.

Over the years of wanting to visit New Zealand, we had accumulated an extensive list of places we wanted to hike and explore. As we got into planning the details, we narrowed our trip to focus on hiking in the mountains of the South Island. Just that easily filled three weeks.

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