Dave submitted this tale from Down Under.
This is a true story.
Born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, I’ve hiked/backpacked the Australian Alps and the California Sierras for all of my life. I’m Strine.
So, on a Trans-Sierra Day Hike (TSDH) a few years ago, the following actually happened.
Crossing the Sierras (“The Range of Light”, according to John Muir) in a single day is not only possible, but very instructive. If you start at the Rock Creek Complex, you can meet up for lunch mid-way with the folks who began the day at the Vermillion Valley Resort, swap car keys & boogie on home. It’s only 18 miles.
Moving East to West, you start out in the Summer rain shadow of the Sierras, quickly move up from the desert via Ruby Lake to snow-covered Mono Pass, through the Hudson Bay ecosytem, then descend through the never-ending-elastic-valley-of-infinity passing through the Winter & Fall climates until you reach Summer at the Vermillion Valley Resort. All in a day. On foot. There are several other TSDH possiblities, but this is where this true story happened.
Four major ecosysems in a single day on foot! Using a (then-primitive) GPS reciever, at about 3/4 distance, I told Tim and his wife that they were not quite fast enough to get to the ferry on time. The ferry shuttles hikers across Lake Thomas Edison to Vermillion. It leaves at 4 pm. For the previous two years, I had gotten my party there at 3:55 pm. Missing it meant an additional 6 miles hike. (Ask me how I know). Telling them that 3.15 miles per hour was not quite enough, I exhorted them to achieve 3.45 miles per hour. I even offered to buy them each a beer at the Vermillion Valley Resort if they could beat me to the ferry, else they would have to shout me.
At a break, I came back quietly only to find them discussing the situation. “We need to finish each break and leave before the Oz”, said Tim. “Yeah”, said Carla, “we gotta hike while the Strine’s not”.