ERIC (34) & BOB (61)

MONIKA: Bob hiked with Llamas part of the JMT and was commonly known as "Llama Bob" up and down the trail.

ERIC: I was 34 when I hiked the southern end of the trail from Kearsarge pass to the Whitney Portal. Even though I hiked with my Dad "Llama Bob" I unfortunately never got to meet the Llamas. I say unfortunately because I became "Eric the Llama" with a heavy pack. I thought my pack was perhaps a pound or two heavier than my Dad’s, but since I am almost half his age, was fresh onto the trail without having already hiked over 100 miles, and I did not have a pacemaker that limited the maximum rate that my heart could beat and therefore the amount of oxygen I could breath in the thin air, I felt it was my turn to pick up the extra weight. On previous trips my Dad and I have taken he carried a good bit more than his fair share. We were not able to weigh our packs until we were done at the Whitney Portal at which point it became clear that we both had been carrying heavy packs. My Dad and I had a great week. I owe thanks to my wife who was 7 months pregnant at the time and stayed home with our 4 year old son to enabled me to take this great trip. I am waiting for a few years before I take my son backpacking but looking forward to it, knowing that I will have to lighten his load for the next few years after that.

BOB: Many years ago, I had been to the far eastern end of the road in King’s Canyon National Park, which allows a great vista of the high peaks and wilderness that the John Muir trail passes through. I decided at that time that it was the trail I wanted to hike as soon as I had the time. For me, the unending magnificence, the solitude and the challenge made it an unforgettable experience.