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Date Sent:      September 15, 2006
Subject:           The Mystery of 17
From:               John Bondon
Specials thanks to June and new member, Jennifer, for leading hikes last weekend! And to Prachi for leading last Wednesday night's Mission Peak hike. I am sorry I missed that hike, but thought it best to rest my foot for Yosemite.

This Sunday, join Paul at 9:30am, for a hike at Morgan Territory. Refer to the website for complete details.

Yosemite Update
Speaking of Yosemite, we had 12 East Bay Casual hikers on the trip, arriving Friday night to our Crane Flat campsite via 4 seperate carpools. In addition, 5 other club members camped seperately and joined us Saturday morning for the Half Dome hike. Most everyone made it all the way to the top of Half Dome, including myself! Even though my foot does not appear to be fully healed yet, I was in no pain at all all weekend, so I am very pleased about that and eager to get back into all my sports activities.

For those who are fans of the TV show "LOST", you understand that a big part of the plot is the mystery surround a certain set of numbers. In a simimlar way, our Yosemite trip seem to have a common number as well ... the number "17". First of all, the whole point of this trip was to hike Half Dome, which is roughly 17 miles round trip. The campsite we stayed at was roughly a 17 mile drive to the trailhead parking lot for Half Dome. And even though the organized camping trip was limited to 12 persons, there were 17 East Bay Casual Hikers who met on Saturday morning to hike Half Dome together. For whatever reason, everything seemed to involve the number "17"!

Photos from Half Dome
I am starting a photo section on the hiking website and eventually will share some of the photos we took from Half Dome. For now, here is one of me climbing the cable section: http://hiking.bondon.com/images/HalfDome/JohnB.jpg

Yosemite Incidents
We did have a couple of hikers who had trouble returning from Half Dome. One was extremely tired and dehydrated and didn't return to camp until 2AM. Another hiker actually took the wrong trail by mistake and was missing until spotted by a park ranger at 5AM Sunday morning.

A great many hours of preparation time went into making this Yosemite trip possible, not only in the planning of the trip itself (camp reservations, carpool logistics, Information Packet, etc.), but also in the food preparations and shopping for and organizing of supplies. We also tried to be ready for emergencies, such as someone getting lost. I feel Prachi and I did many things right on this trip, but we certainly learned many lessons from this experience of how we might have done better -- lessons that will be applied in a possible future group outing adventure. One thing we DID do right for sure, was collecting Emergency Contact information from everyone ahead of time. Without it, the Park Ranger might never have taken action to help find our lost hiker.

This incident also reinforces the importance of hiking with a buddy. As well as the dangers of hiking at night. Even in familiar territory and aided by flashlights and headlamps, the darkness of night can cause even the most experienced hiker to quickly become disoriented.

Emergency Contact Info on Website
For those not aware, let me take this opportunity to mention the Emergency Contact information is optionally collected on the hiking web site as well. It is not collected when you first sign up, but if you use the "Modify my settings" link on the website or in this email, you have the opportunity to share with me up to two people whom you would like notified in the unlikely event you should ever need medical assistance while on a hike. Granted, for our regular local hikes, this has never been an issue, but I am one who prefers to be proactive, rather than reactive, whenever possible. Thus, why I collect this information. This information will never be shared with other hiking leaders, but will be passed along to appropriate rescue personnel when necessary.

I am out of town again this weekend, so I will be unavailable for hiking, but now that my foot is healed, I am looking forward to joining the group for hiking next weekend, barring any other obligations. Until then, have a great weekend!

Remember as always, you'll find more details about this upcoming hike posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website.

Happy Trails! :)

Happy Trails,

John




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