Happenstance on the Muir Trail


On our way up the storm harried Pichot Pass. You can see elements of the Tidd Family as tiny dots just to the left of the middle of the photo.

I recently spent nine days on the Muir Trail, entering in at Purple Lake and exiting out over Kearsarge Pass. I was surprised by how few people I met on the trip. I thought I’d come across dozens of people a day, but instead my day’s total usually numbered less than ten.

But one of my chance encounters on the trail was with the Tidd Family — Bill, Melanie, Michael and Danielle. They were from New Hampshire and Michelle just graduated from high school and when asked what she wanted for her graduation present, she said she wanted to hike the John Muir Trail! This girl rocketed to Five Stars in my book the moment I heard that.

The thing was they only had 15 days to complete the trip, so they flew out, made their way to Yosemite Valley and started hiking 15 miles a day.

Every day.

They got hailed on while climbing over Donahue Pass, rained on at Palisades Lakes, followed by blisters that never seemed to get better and suffered sore hips from borrowed backpacks that needed “more” in the waist belt. But they made their average 15 miles and day and were determined to finish.

I met them at Palisades Lakes the morning after we all spend a night huddled in our tents from an all-night rain. I chatted briefly with them about the weather before I started off for Mather Pass. I kept running into them over the next two days and slowly learned their full story. These were some super nice people, and they gave me a boost I sorely needed after slowly running my battery down over the previous seven days, and ended up “drafting” them all the way to Rae Lakes. They kept going and popped over Glen Pass while I napped in my tent above the rising fish in the lake.

MikeTiddI never saw them again, but with a little detective work I found a photo on Mike’s Facebook page of him standing on the ridge leading up to Mt. Whitney, overlooking Guitar Lake below — which means they made it.

By the way, right after the hike, Bill met his other daughter in Tahoe and they ran the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 — as in 100 miles — in just over 28 hours. Indeed a special family and I’m glad I ran into them.




TiddFamilyWhitney TiddSunrise







(Follow up:)
Received a nice email from Bill and he was kind enough to send along some photos of their final morning on Whitney watching the sun rise.

Michael, Danielle, Melanie and Bill Tidd on top of Whitney at the end of their Muir adventure.