More About the Author
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My dear friend and superb photographer Susan Morning, of a local weekly, "The Mammoth Times," took the photo of me at the 2010 Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee, where she was taking photos and I was working as a volunteer. Since much of the featured jazz music dates from the nineteen-teens and twenties, we enjoy dressing up a little with things like feather boas (this one courtesy of my friend April at Burger's).
I'm a native Southern Californian, a graduate of Stanford, and a now-former-but-previously-long-term employee of Hughes Aircraft Company (now part of Raytheon). In the mid-1970s, friends at Hughes took me on my first backpack -- something I'd never even heard of before. But I was driving a small station wagon at the time, and I think they were more interested the wagon's capacity for packs and people than in my company.
That little trip changed my life! We went to a trailhead on the west side of the Sierra Nevada, a trailhead whose name I can't recall. For the first quarter-mile, which was through forest, I thought I was going to die. I just KNEW I had made the worst decision of my life by getting mixed up in this ridiculous and painful "adventure."
Then we reached a point on the trail where the forest gave way to meadow, and the light, space, and sheer beauty of the Sierra blew me away. I fell madly in love with the Sierra Nevada. That never changed: the Sierra Nevada is the great love of my life.
Later in that decade, I visited Hawaii for the first time but saw only the populated sides of it. Eventually, I did more research into the islands' history, human and natural, and into the wide range of opportunities they offer for hikers and backpackers. After seeing the islands from that perspective, I was a convert. With respect to the "beach scene," I'm a great one for the mountains. There's nothing like Haleakala's "crater," or the great lava moonscape of Mauna Loa. Oh, wait, there are the marvelous trails in the Koolau Mountains behind Honolulu, especially out of Makiki Valley, and Kauai's Kokee State Park is always a joy....You get the picture. So while Hawaii might not be a great love like the Sierra, it certainly has stolen much of my heart.
I've been sidelined for 3 years by breaking my leg in 2008 and in the process destroying my knee severely enough that it didn't heal after initial surgery. I had to have the knee replaced in early 2009. Then, in 2010 shortly after the Jazz Jubilee, I developed a heart problem that I've since learned to live with -- and take meds for. Now I'm back to hiking and loving it, though not yet going as far as I plan to eventually. The crystal ball says there's llama-packing in my future!
This summer, 2011, I look forward to re-hiking as many of the trips in *Hot Showers, Soft Beds, and Dayhikes in the Sierra* as I possibly can, plus making a long, llama-assisted loop through beautiful Emigrant Wilderness.
I live on the east side of the Sierra now, in a little burg called Big Pine. If you blink between Independence and Bishop, you'll miss it. There's a truly great High Sierra trailhead just up the hill from me. And all the eastside trailheads are rather close, to my great delight.
It's my sincere hope that by using my books, you'll find more enjoyment than ever in exploring our glorious Sierran and Hawaiian outdoors, and that you'll support the never-ending campaign to keep them from being over-exploited for commercial gain. Happy hiking to all of you!